J.J. Redick asks for forgiveness after being accused of using racist word

By Alex Butler  |  Feb. 19, 2018 at 12:53 PM
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Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Philadelphia 76ers guard J.J. Redick has apologized after drawing criticism for appearing to use a racist word.

Redick was filming a video for the Chinese media company Tencent, when he said allegedly uttered the word, while wishing fans a happy Chinese New Year.

The video greeting aired on Valentine's Day at halftime of the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trailblazers game.

"Just saw a video that is being circulated of me wishing a happy new year to NBA fans in China," Redick tweeted Sunday afternoon. "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."

Redick went into more detail about what he intended to say in a longer apology on Sunday night.

"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," Redick tweeted. "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 and 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."

Redick, 33, is averaging a career-high 16.9 points per game in his first season for the 76ers. He is shooting a league-best 94 percent from the free throw line.

Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin defended Redick in a statement his issued Sunday night on Twitter.

"I spoke with J.J. today on the phone for a long time," Lin tweeted. "I truly believe he didn't say a racial slur and that he has a great deal of respect toward 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 that they deserve."

"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. To the fans, I encourage you to not use hateful language toward the NBA and J.J. Hope everyone continues to have a Happy Chinese New Year."

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