How the NBA wound up in the middle of the Hong Kong movement
Like so many things nowadays, it began with a tweet.
Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, expressed his support for the anti-Beijing protest movement in Hong Kong on the social media platform Friday; he quickly deleted the tweet, but the damage was done.
The Chinese Basketball Association, which is chaired by former Houston Rockets star Yao Ming, announced Sunday it would suspend cooperation with the Rockets, and the team’s partnerships with other Chinese businesses were also damaged. There was reportedly talk that Morey, who apologized, could lose his job. The Rockets are one of the most popular teams in China, a country that has fallen in love with the NBA, so Houston’s ownership clearly values that market.
As does the league as a whole. The NBA released a statement Sunday evening explaining their stance on Morey’s comments.
NEW: the NBA has released a statement on Daryl Morey: pic.twitter.com/FOI79W31b1
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) October 7, 2019
The New York Times also provided a translation of the statement the league sent to China, which was even harsher on Morey, calling his tweet “inappropriate” and acknowledging that he “seriously hurt the feelings of Chinese basketball fans.”
The early reactions to the NBA’s initial response were often critical, with several people arguing that the league was acting hypocritically, and that it has often ignored human rights abuses in China in favor of maintaining its fan base there. Tim O’Donnell
GOP donors are reportedly encouraging Mitt Romney to primary Trump
Drew Angerer/AFP/Getty Images
In recent days, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has been fielding calls from GOP donors itching for him to primary President Trump in 2020, a person close to Romney told Vanity Fair.
“There is a half-billion dollars on the sidelines from guys who are fed up with Trump,” one donor told Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman. Romney has been one of the few Republican voices to speak out against Trump’s attempts to get foreign leaders to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, tweeting on Friday that his “brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine … is wrong and appalling.” This earned Romney a rebuke from Trump, who tweeted the next day that he is “a pompous ‘ass’” who “never knew how to win.”
Despite the encouragement from donors, Romney has decided it’s foolish to try to primary Trump, since he wasn’t able to win the 2012 presidential race and Republicans are still by and large supporting Trump. An adviser to Romney told Sherman that Romney thinks his best bet is to stay in the Senate, where he would be able to participate in an impeachment trial. Romney could have “tremendous influence” the adviser said, as he’s “the one guy who could bring along [GOP Sens.] Susan Collins, Cory Gardner, Ben Sasse. Romney is the pressure point in the impeachment process. That’s why the things he’s saying are freaking Republicans out.” Read more at Vanity Fair. Catherine Garcia
It wasn’t all bad
While on the job, Florida bus driver has helped save 3 lives in 2 years
Able to stay cool, calm, and collected, bus driver Laronda Marshall has helped save the lives of three people since November 2017.
A former certified nursing assistant, Marshall became a bus driver for Miami-Dade Transit in Florida eight years ago. In late September, a passenger approached her and said another man on the bus was slumped over and appeared to be ill. Marshall pulled over and went up to the man, but her attempts to wake him up were unsuccessful. After calling for help, Marshall and several passengers moved the man to the floor, and she gave him CPR until first responders arrived.
Paramedics later told her if she hadn’t performed CPR, the man would not have survived. Marshall didn’t hesitate to step up, telling The Miami Herald she has “a love for people, and my instinct is to jump in and help.” She also thinks it’s important that everyone know basic skills like CPR, because “it could save a life.”
This was not the first or even second time she’s had to react fast — in November 2017, she saw a man in the middle of the street who had been hit by a car. She maneuvered the bus so it blocked him from being hit again, and remained with him until first responders arrived. A month later, she saw a child in the road, and pulled over, bringing her on the bus and taking her to safety. Catherine Garcia
Kurdish general anticipates Turkish assault in Syria, says watching ISIS prisoners is no longer top priority
Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images
With the Syrian Democratic Forces preparing for attacks by Turkish troops in northern Syria, fighters are being moved to the border, leaving a limited number of guards to keep watch over thousands of Islamic State prisoners, a commander told NBC News.
The Syrian Democratic Forces are the United States’ Kurdish allies in the region, and General Mazloum Kobani Abdi told NBC News that the ISIS prisoners are now a “second priority,” due to the White House’s Sunday announcement that U.S. troops will “no longer be in the immediate area,” paving the way for a Turkish operation. Mazloum said this is a “very big problem,” as there are about 12,000 prisoners — 10,000 from Syria and Iraq, and 2,000 from other countries.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan considers Kurdish forces to be terrorists. Despite being the opposition, Mazloum told NBC News “one of the options that we have on the table” is to partner with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to fight against Turkey. He is hopeful that the American public will call on Trump to reverse course, so it doesn’t have to come to this, saying, “The people who fought with you against international terrorism, against ISIS, are under risk right now and they are facing a big battle alone.” Catherine Garcia
Out of this World
Astronomers discover 20 new moons around Saturn
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute via Getty Images
Take that, Jupiter.
Scientists from the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center announced on Monday that 20 new moons have been discovered around Saturn, bringing its total number of moons up to 82. Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, has 79 moons, including Ganymede, which is nearly half the size of Earth. Saturn’s newly-found moons are all tiny, no bigger than three miles in diameter.
“It was fun to find that Saturn is the true moon king,” Scott Sheppard, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institute for Science, told The Associated Press. The moons were spotted this summer via a telescope in Hawaii, and it is believed there could be roughly 100 additional minuscule moons that have yet to be discovered.
“These moons are the remnants of the objects that helped form the planets, so by studying them, we are learning about what the planets formed from,” Sheppard said. He added that larger telescopes will need to be built in order to see any moons smaller than one mile across. Catherine Garcia
in whistleblower news
House Democrats are reportedly worried Trump’s GOP allies could leak whistleblower’s identity
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
In order to protect the identity of the whistleblower who filed a complaint over President Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, House Democrats are discussing several different ways this person could testify in a safe environment, three officials familiar with the discussions told The Washington Post on Monday.
The whistleblower has said they will answer questions in front of the House and Senate Intelligence committees, and there are concerns that Trump’s most fervent supporters on the House panel could leak their identity, the officials said. There are several plans under consideration, including having an audio-only testimony, having the person appear via video with their appearance and voice distorted, and sitting the whistleblower down behind a partition or screen.
“There are lots of different protocols and procedures we’re looking into to find out what works and doesn’t work to protect the identity of the whistleblower,” one official told the Post. “That is paramount.” Another official said this is the first time the House Intelligence Committee has ever had to go to such lengths to protect a witness. Attorneys for the whistleblower have told acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire that they are worried about their client’s safety, as “certain individuals” have put out a $50,000 “bounty” for “any information” on this person’s identity.
Trump has said his call with Zelensky, which included him asking multiple times for Ukraine to open up an investigation into political rival and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, was “perfect.” He also has tweeted several inflammatory statements about the whistleblower, and said he wants to meet “my accuser.” Catherine Garcia
Why the USWNT still thinks U.S. soccer is missing the point when it comes to their earnings
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
It’s been a few months since the U.S. women’s soccer team won their second straight FIFA World Cup title, but they’re still battling things out in court in their quest for equal pay, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The U.S. Soccer Federation last week submitted court filings showing that four players on the women’s team — Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and Becky Sauerbrunn — each earned a total of between $1.1 million and $1.2 million between March 30, 2014 and Sept. 30, 2019. That’s more than any men’s national team player earned during that timeframe; the highest earner on the men’s side reportedly made $993,967.
But the women’s team responded by arguing that they played and won more games, so while the total compensation might have been higher for some players, the relative pay was still less. For example, if the women had the same collective-bargaining agreement as the men’s team, Morgan would have reportedly earned more than $4 million dollars over the course of her 58 games and two World Cup titles, which is nearly four times as much as she’s made in reality.
Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for the U.S. women’s players, called that the “very definition of gender discrimination.”
U.S. soccer still maintains, however, that the women agreed to a separate collective-bargaining agreement from the men that runs through 2021, and that pay differences result from those negotiations not gender. Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Tim O’Donnell
Facebook will reportedly pay $40 million for allegedly inflating video metrics
Facebook is doling out a seemingly small sum to brush away its video troubles.
Facebook has reportedly reached a settlement in a lawsuit alleging it falsely inflated viewership metrics on its videos by up to 900 percent. Advertising firms on Monday started revealing the details of that settlement, which includes a $40 million payment that’ll largely be distributed to advertisers who allegedly didn’t get the video viewership they paid for, per The Hollywood Reporter.
The lawsuit started in October 2016 after Facebook admitted it inflated its viewership metrics on videos during an 18-month period from 2015-16. Advertisers who’d paid for a certain number of eyes on their video ads quickly sued, eventually forming one giant lawsuit. And even though Facebook admitted to wrongdoing, litigants also claim the company didn’t properly account for its actions, Variety reports.
As of Monday, Facebook seemed to be making amends. According to a briefing released Monday by those plaintiffs, Facebook has agreed to pay out a $40 million settlement. Most of it will go to the affected advertisers, but 30 percent of the settlement, or $12 million, will go to attorneys, per the Reporter. Still, Facebook is maintaining a lot of the suit came “without merit” — and hasn’t acknowledged how it hurt the media business once news organizations got wind of how prioritized video content seemed to be. Kathryn Krawczyk