Free Hong Kong NBA jersey wasn’t allowed on the NBA store, infuriating a few fans. An official statement has now been released.
The NBA store has said that the ban on the customized jerseys with “FreeHongKong” on the back was “inadvertently prohibited” on the online store.
“Free Hong Kong” is the slogan for the pro-democracy protests that have been going on in HongKong since last year.
Free Hong Kong NBA Jersey banned
The NBA Store has always allowed fans to customize anything on the back of the jerseys, they just have to adhere to the 12 characters limitation.
But recently some of the fans pointed out that “FreeHongKong” (which is exactly 12 characters) is not being allowed by the NBA to be put on the back of customized jerseys.
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) July 13, 2020
The online store allowed statements like “KillCops”, ”‘F-CK Police,” and “Burn Jews” and many other such offensive statements. But the pro-democracy slogan wasn’t allowed.
Many thought that the “FreeHongHong” statement should have been one of the 29 social justice statements that the NBA approved for players to put on the back of their jerseys at the Bubble restart.
Many fans took to Twitter to criticize the NBA for it. They were furious with this and some even said of boycotting the NBA.
The @NBA won’t sell custom jerseys that say “FreeHongKong,” but the NBA will create custom jerseys that say “FuckPolice” and “FuckHongKong.”
The league makes billions from America, and still bows to China without a second though. Disgusting.
— David Hookstead (@dhookstead) July 13, 2020
Simple. Turn the NBA off. Don’t watch them on tv, don’t go to the games and don’t buy their stuff. When no one supports them, they will get the idea. Until then they will continue to act like the asses they are. And if you support them in anyway you are complicit.
— Don Cullen (@DonCullen2) July 13, 2020
NBA store “inadvertently prohibited” the jersey
After this controversy, Fanatics, the shop that officially handles the NBA online store among others like NFL, MLS, etc said to Sportingnews that “The phrase was inadvertently prohibited on our league online store sites and has now been fixed”.
“Fans who wish to customize it, so long as the text meets the 12-character limit, are able to do so.”
We all know that China has heavily invested in the NBA. So it could be that the league didn’t want to offend them. The growing tensions between China and the US could mean a depletion of funds for the NBA.
The league didn’t release any official statement on this matter.