Pence went so far as to accuse the league of "acting like a wholly owned subsidiary" of China's Communist Party and also blasted Nike for "checking its social conscience at the door."
NBA commissioner Adam Silver defended Morey's right of free speech and opted not to discipline him for tweeting "Fight for Freedom, stand with Hong Kong," but the league has significant business interests in China. Chinese state television did not air the preseason games played in the country earlier this month, when backlash from the tweet reached its apex.
"Some of the NBA's biggest players and owners, who routinely exercise their freedom to criticize this country, lose their voices when it comes to the freedom and rights of other peoples," Pence said in his speech, per CNBC.
"In siding with the Chinese Communist Party and silencing free speech, the NBA is acting like a wholly owned subsidiary of the authoritarian regime," he later added.