NBA basketball player JJ Redick apologised in a tweet on Monday (Feb 19) over a video in which he appeared to use a racial slur to address fans in China.
Image: Sports News
"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," the Philadelphia 76ers star said.
"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," he continued.
In the online video compilation of NBA players sending seasonal greetings to fans celebrating Chinese New Year, Redick appears to refer to fans in China using a pejorative racial term.
The video was made by the Chinese media company Tencent and a reworked version of the video without Redick was released.
However in Monday's tweet he was adamant that he had not intended to use the racial slur.
"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," he said.
"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," he said.
American-born Chinese basketball player Jeremy Lin on Monday tweeted in defence of Redick.
Saying that he had spoken to Redick on the phone, the Brooklyn Nets player said he believed Redick.
"I truly believe he didn't say a racial slur and that he has a great deal of respect towards Chinese people," he said.
"Being Chinese is so important to me and 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."
Redick had responded to the controversy on Twitter in an earlier tweet, in which he blamed a verbal slip for his use of the word.
"Just saw a video that is being circulated of me wishing a happy new year to NBA fans in China," Redick wrote.
"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 and respect our friends in China."
Redick joined the 76ers this season, the latest stop on a career that has included previous spells with the Orlando Magic, Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers.
Source: China News Asia