Panicked NBA makes U-turn after approving sale of ‘Kill Cops’ jerseys but not ‘Free Hong Kong’

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The NBA may no longer allow customers at its official league store online to order certain customized anti-police jerseys after a Daily Caller sports reporter exposed the practice.

David Hookstead posted audio of his phone call with the NBA store, where a sales rep told him he could order customized jerseys that say “F**k Police” and “Kill Cops” but not one that said, “Free Hong Kong.”

Hookstead contacted the NBA store after realizing he could type “F**kPolice” and “KillCops” into the jersey customizing form but could not similarly order a shirt supportive of Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous city in China whose residents are currently pushing against the country’s authoritarian Communist rule.

“I’m on the phone with the NBA store right now. Sales rep says I can’t buy a FreeHongKong jersey, but I can buy a KillCops jersey if I want one,” Hookstead wrote on Twitter.

Not long after, the Daily Caller sports writer posted audio of his phone call where a sales rep is admitting he can’t buy a Free Hong Kong jersey but can order one that says KillCops.

Later, he posted the full audio of his call on YouTube.

“This is the full audio of the NBA store telling me I can’t buy a “FreeHongKong” jersey, but I can buy a ‘KillCops’ jersey,” he wrote on Twitter. “For anyone claiming this isn’t legit, I can promise you that it very much is. The NBA doesn’t want people to hear this!” Hookstead wrote.

Hookstead told the sales rep that the online ordering site was being “finicky” so he wanted to place his order over the phone instead.

As he spoke to the rep, he told her he wanted a large Houston Rockets jersey with the number “1,” before spelling out “FreeHongKong.”

The sales rep confirmed the customizable name, but then informed Hookstead that the system would not allow that name to be used, advising, “Please try a different entry.”

Hookstead then tells the rep to enter “Kill Cops” with the same number; after she informs him that no entries will go through with a ‘space,’ he asked her to remove the space between ‘kill’ and ‘cops.’

The sales rep then informs Hookstead the system accepted that entry.

Next, Hookstead asks if the system accepts “F**kPolice” as a customizable phrase.

After he gives the sales rep those letters, she places him on hold for a few minutes. When she returns, the sales rep says that, suddenly, the ordering system is glitched and advises him to try again later.

“So, just so we’re clear, five minutes ago, ‘KillCops’ worked, I could buy a KillCops jersey, now it doesn’t. I can’t buy that? My credit card’s sitting right here. I’m waiting to order it.”

No, she explains. System glitch; sometimes that happens. “Huge volume” of orders.

“BREAKING: The @NBA is no longer creating/selling “KillCops” and “FuckPolice” jerseys after I called and asked for one. Just a few hours ago, there was nothing stopping anyone from purchasing both. What is the NBA’s excuse for why it was ever allowed?” Hookstead wrote online after the call.

The NBA, which is attempting to expand its brand into China’s vast market, has been deferential to the Communist country, despite its lengthy record of human rights abuses.

The league has taken criticism from former players as well, including Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, who came out in defense free speech after current star LeBron James excused China’s censorship.

James criticized Daryl Morey, general manager of the Rockets, after the executive came out in support of the burgeoning pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.


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