A video of NBA athletes wishing fans in China a Happy New Year has sparked a major controversy after J.J. Redick of the Sixers appeared to use a racial slur:
Dozens of NBA stars are featured wishing fans well for the upcoming Year of the Dog, before it cuts to Redick who says:
“I want to wish all the NBA c***k fans in China a Happy New Year.”
The video showcasing Redick’s slur remains the only version showing the incident. The video was not produced by the NBA or the 76ers, but rather licensed to Chinese media company Tencent. It produced the video with the NBA’s rights as part of a wider broadcast agreement in China. Since the controversy began, Tencent removed the video featuring Redick — instead uploading an almost identical version without the Sixers player:
Fans are understandably outraged by Redick’s apparent use of the slur and are demanding answers from the NBA, Adam Silver, and the Sixers. A Twitter search of Redick’s name reveals thousands upon thousands of upset tweets:
Seriously？JJ Redick used the racist word "Chink" in the official NBA video for celebrating Chinese New Year to Chinese fans. We all know what that means and how disrespectful and insulting it is to Chinese. And we need an official explanation to this. @NBA @espn— Liao Kuo (@kevinkuo528) February 18, 2018
@AdamSilverNBA— www.YQ66.cc 老虎10送28_ (@jh13sth) February 18, 2018
There is a video about the new years greetings from NBA players.76ers guard J.J.Redick said the word "chink" in the interview.All of us know how disrespectful it is to Chinese.I hope NBA can give us an official statement regarding the above.
Please give our Chinese NBA fans an explanation for JJ Redick the insult to China，It's unbearable for us especially in Chinese New Year.This is serious racial discrimination. pic.twitter.com/Erpv8DWgWx— Mr.Gao (@Gao990204) February 18, 2018
In response to the video circulating and the reaction, Redick tweeted the following:
Just saw a video that is being circulated of me wishing a happy new year to NBA fans in China.Clearly I was tongue tied, as the word I purportedly said is not in my vocabulary. I’m disappointed that anyone would think I would use that word. I love & respect our friends in China.— JJ Redick (@JJRedick) February 18, 2018
He later elaborated with the following statement:
“To all our NBA fans in China and everyone celebrating the Chinese New Year, I want to sincerely apologize to anyone I may have offended.
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 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. I have been fortunate to play in two NBA Global Games in China (2007 & 2015). I loved the experience, the culture, the history, and most of all, the people. I ask your forgiveness.
This should be a time of celebration. I am so sorry for upsetting anyone.”
Jeremy Lin also chimed in on the situation, saying he forgave Redick and believes it was an honest mistake.
“I spoke with JJ today on the phone for a long time. I truly believe he didn't say a racial slur and that he has a great deal of respect towards Chinese people. I also reached out to Adam Silver and David Shoemaker. 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 they deserve,” Lin said in a statement on Sunday night.
“Being Chinese is so important to me and I will do everything I can to work with the NBA to help continue 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. Hope everyone continues to have a Happy Chinese New Year!”