NBA (National Basketball Association)

NBA star J.J. Redick apologises to Chinese basketball fans after racial slur storm

The Philadelphia 76ers star appears to use racial slur in a video celebrating Chinese New Year but blames verbal slip

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 February, 2018, 10:07am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 February, 2018, 4:21pm

The focus for the NBA on Sunday was meant to be the annual All-Star game – but Philadelphia 76ers’ J.J. Redick caused a racial slur storm in an online video that was meant to celebrate Chinese New Year.

In a compilation video of NBA players sending seasonal greetings to supporters in China for the Year of the Dog, in acknowledgement of the February 16 holiday, Redick seemingly uses a derogatory term for Chinese people.

“I just want to wish all of the NBA chink fans in China, a very happy Chinese New Year,” he appears to say in the video.

Chinese media company Tencent, who made the original video, edited Redick out in a reworked version.

The 33-year-old quickly defended himself on Twitter after appearing to use the word, which is regarded as offensive to people of Chinese heritage, putting it down to a verbal slip.

The NBA has yet to comment, but Redick later posted a lengthier statement which included an apology after Chinese basketball fans voiced their anger on social media over the apparent remark.

“To all our NBA fans in China and everyone celebrating the Chinese New Year, I want to sincerely apologise to anyone I may have offended,” read a statement Redick posted on Twitter.

“After a recent 76ers game, I was asked by the NBA and Tencent to record a video wishing our NBA fans in China a Happy New Year.

“I was glad to do it. I was intending to say ‘NBA Chinese fans’ but it sounded weird in my mind so I changed it mid-sentence to ‘NBA fans in China’. It came out the wrong way.

“At the time we recorded it, no one in the room – not Tencent, not the 76ers PR team and certainly not myself – heard the word that I [was] purported to say.

“Had I known it sounded anything like that, I would have been mortified and recorded the greeting over again. That is not a word in my vocabulary but I now understand how it sounds on the video.

“That is not who I am – as a person, a player, a husband and a father.”

Redick also pointed to the two NBA Global Games he has played in China in 2007 and 2015.

“I loved the experience, the culture, the history, and most of all, the people,” the statement added. “I ask your forgiveness. This should be a time of celebration. I am so sorry for upsetting anyone.”

Chinese basketball fans on Twitter had earlier voiced displeasure after Redick’s original statement did not contain an apology.

One comment read: “Whether you are [saying it] inadvertently or intentionally, this undoubtedly hurt the feelings of many Chinese fans, I also hope that [us] Asians can also get the due respect.”

How did Hebei striker Ezequiel Lavezzi find himself at the centre of social media racism storm?

“China is the largest NBA market except America,” wrote another user on Twitter. “When all of the people are immersed in the joy of the festival ... There was a problem of racism and it affected everyone.

“JJ Redick didn’t make a positive apology for the word. I hope NBA officials can give a answer to all Chinese fans.”

Redick, who has previously played for the Orlando Magic, Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers, joined the 76ers this season, his 12th as a professional, and is averaging a career-high 16.9 points.