CBA condemns fans’ racist insults toward US player; Jeremy Lin calls for respect
Published: Jan 16, 2022 06:31 PM
Photo: Sina Weibo

Photo: Sina Weibo

The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) on Friday issued a statement condemning any form of racial discrimination after several Chinese basketball fans shouted racial slurs, including the N-word, at US basketball player Clarence Weems after a basketball game on Thursday.

According to a statement, after the CBA regular season match between the Liaoning Bengang Team and Guangdong Dongguan Dayi Team Thursday evening, certain individuals shouted racist insults at Weems, the Guangdong team's foreign aid athlete, seriously damaging the image of the CBA league and CBA fans.

"The CBA has a zero-tolerance attitude toward any discriminatory words or deeds, and firmly opposes and severely condemns any racially discriminatory words or deeds. It is hoped that the majority of the fans and the CBA League will work together to maintain our league's good environment and demonstrate the warm and friendly spirit of Chinese fans." 

That same day, CBA published an open letter to all basketball fans, calling for them to show good manners while watching matches. 

"In three weeks, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics are about to begin, which will be a new opportunity to show a new era of China to the world… Openness, tolerance, self-confidence and peace are the mentality that all Chinese, including CBA fans, need," the letter, which has been viewed more than 1.07 million times on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, said.

Media reported that earlier during the game, a conflict broke out between Liaoning basketball center Han Dejun and Weems and that both were expelled from the game. Afterwards, several fans with Liaoning team jerseys in their hands waited in front of the Guangdong bus and shouted racial slurs, including the N-word, at Weems, as he was exiting from the team's bus. 

Liaoning went on to defeat Guangdong 102-90, securing the top spot in the standings.

For the violations during the match, the CBA League issued suspensions on Friday: Han was suspended for seven games and fined 200,000 yuan ($31, 483), Weems was suspended for five games and fined 140,000 yuan.

On Friday, Chinese-American basketball player Jeremy Lin posted on Sina Weibo in support of Weems and called for fans to be more rational and show respect for players.

"I've experienced firsthand what it's like to be called a 'Chinaman' in a place where I'm considered a 'foreigner.' And to be honest, it's scary when everyone around you doesn't look like you. The abuse Weems received really was disrespectful, that word carried so much hurt, unfairness and hatred that I couldn't put into words. I want us to all remember that, as individuals, we should pay attention to what we say. Because every word we say carries its meaning and will have a lot of power and impact. Be cautious…" Lin wrote.

The CBA statements and Lin's post have gained a lot of support from Chinese netizens who commented "Watch the competition with manners, and be rational about winning and losing! Respect your opponent, respect yourself!"