It started innocently enough with a video featuring NBA players, including Jeremy Lin, D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie, wishing their Chinese fans a happy new year.
Produced by TenCent, the Chinese media company, the video was unscripted with players choosing their own greetings.
The 76ers JJ Redick (a Brooklyn resident the Nets pursued last season) appeared to use a derogatory term in his greeting. Specifically, he sent his best wishes to “all the NBA c**nk fans in China.” That’s what it sounded like, anyway.
Redick, known as one of the league’s most articulate players, immediately apologized, saying that he was tongue-tied when offering the New Year’s greeting.
Redick said he intended to say “NBA Chinese fans” but changed his mind mid-sentence to say “NBA fans in China,” claiming his confusion led to his accidental use of the slur. “That is not a word in my vocabulary but I now understand how it sounds in the video,” said Redick in a statement. “That is not who I am—as a person, a player, a husband, and a father.”
Enter JLin, who during Linsanity and since, has heard —and read— the same word in attacks on him. In his own tweet posted Sunday night, Lin said he spoke with Redick “for a long time” and accepted his explanation and apology, but Lin also used the controversy as a teaching moment. Here’s his tweet.
Lin, who has said he’ll be back with the Nets next season after a devastating knee injury, noted that he had spoken with both Adam Silver and David Stoneman, president of NBA China, about the incident.
“Everyone knows this word should never be used referring to Chinese people and everyone is committed to Chinese fans being treated with equality and respect that they deserve,” noted Lin.
He also encouraged his fans “not to use hateful language toward the NBA and J.J Redick,” ending with a Chinese New Year greeting.
The Nets are likely to continue to play a big role in Chinese and Taiwanese issues. New York has the largest Chinese population outside Asia and the Nets have been aggressive in marketing to that population ever since Yi Jianlian played with the team in New Jersey. And in a week or so, Joe Tsai, one of Asia’s richest men, will officially become a minority partner in the Nets with an option to buy a controlling interest in a few years.
- Jeremy Lin, J.J. Redick hash out racial slur controversy - Brian Lewis - New York Post