Jeremy Lin leaps to J.J. Redick’s defence with NBA star at the centre of racial slur storm with Chinese fans
Chinese-American NBA star Lin believes that Redick didn’t use racial slur and that he also has ‘great deal of respect’ for Chinese people
Jeremy Lin has defended J.J. Redick after the Philadelphia 76ers star came under fire from Chinese NBA fans sparking a racial slur storm on Monday.
Redick issued a statement on Twitter apologising for what he deemed a verbal slip when he appeared to wish all of the NBA’s “chink” fans a happy Chinese New Year.
The 33-year-old was part of a video compilation, put together by Chinese media company Tencent, of NBA players greeting Chinese supporters in acknowledgement of the February 16 holiday.
But Redick claimed he got tongue-tied during his greeting, which was edited out of a reworked version by Tencent, and Brooklyn Nets guard Lin was quick to address the issue.
“I spoke to JJ today on the phone for a long time,” Lin, the NBA’s first Chinese-American player, wrote in his own statement posted to Twitter.
“I truly believe he didn’t say a racial slur and that he has a great deal of respect towards Chinese people.”
Lin said he reached out to NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBA China CEO David Shoemaker after the incident with Redick.
“Everyone knows that this word should never be used in referring to Chinese people and everyone is committed to Chinese fans being treated with the equality and respect that they deserve,” Lin added.
Many Chinese basketball fans expressed their anger on social media towards Redick, who initially did not apologise before putting out a lengthier statement. The NBA has also yet to comment.
“Being Chinese is so important to me,” said Lin, who visited the home of his maternal grandmother in Pinghu for a documentary as part of the NBA’s Chinese New Year celebrations.
“I will do everything I can to work with the NBA to help continue [to] teach fans about the depth and beauty of Chinese culture and the importance of China to basketball culture.
“To the fans, I encourage you not to use hateful language towards the NBA and JJ.”
Lin, who sparked the “Linsanity” craze in 2012 with his electric performances for the New York Knicks, has previously touched on issues of race and the “cultural appropriation” he has experienced as an Asian-American.
Last October, he wrote an insightful 1,500-word essay about how he wrestled over whether he should get dreadlocks, or whether that would be insulting to African-American players in the NBA.
The 29-year-old also hit back in classy fashion at former NBA star Kenyon Martin who accused him of “wanting to be black” – pointing out the irony of the former Nets player’s own tattoo with Chinese characters.