Sonny Weems, an American basketball player, was recently called racist names during a Chinese Basketball Association game between his team, the Guangdong Southern Tigers, and the Liaoning Flying Leopards.
Fans who shouted racial epithets, such as the “N” word and “get out of China,” repeatedly targeted Weems, a 35-year-old NBA player.
During a game, Weems and a Chinese player named Han Dejun got into a fight, which led to both of them being kicked out of the game. The video clip of the incident shows Weems and his team leaving the team bus as a group of fans shout racist remarks. Even though Weems doesn’t seem to know about the abuse, both teams and fans are upset and angry about what happened.
The CBA said in a statement on Friday that they did not agree with the racist actions and that they have “zero tolerance for any discriminatory words or actions.” The league told fans to avoid “uncivilized behavior” and “vulgar words,” and it stressed how important it is to watch games in a way that shows respect for the team and its reputation.
Both the Southern Tigers and the Flying Leopards condemned the fans’ behavior, with the latter stating that the racist remarks seriously harmed the Guangdong team, the league, and the fans’ image. The Taiwanese-American basketball player Jeremy Lin also expressed his support for Weems, stating that the abuse he received was disrespectful and hurtful.
This is not the first time that a foreign athlete has been treated badly in China because of their race. In 2019, former NBA player Stephon Marbury spoke out about the racism he faced during his time in China, which included fans throwing bananas at him and making monkey noises. This incident highlights the need for increased awareness and education about racism in China and around the world.
The incident also occurred just three weeks before China is set to host the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Concerns about human rights violations, such as forced labour and the persecution of ethnic minorities like Uyghurs in Xinjiang, have already made the upcoming event controversial. The recent incident with Weems only adds to the scrutiny and makes people wonder if China is really ready to host such a big event on a global scale.
Weems hasn’t spoken out about what happened, but the support he’s gotten from fans and other players has been heartening. Fans have left messages of support for Weems on his Weibo page, saying that they are sorry about what happened and that they stand by the player.
While the incident is certainly a cause for concern, it is also an opportunity to start a conversation about racism and discrimination in China and beyond. The CBA’s statement and the condemnation from both teams and fans show that there is a growing awareness of and intolerance for such behavior. It’s important that this momentum keeps going and that steps are taken to teach people about equality and respect for everyone.
Sonny Weems Bio
Clarence “Sonny” Weems was born in the United States on July 8, 1986. He is a professional basketball player for the Shanxi Loongs of the Chinese Basketball Association. (CBA). He played college basketball for the University of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.
In the 2008 NBA draught, the Chicago Bulls were the ones to select him, but they didn’t keep him for long before trading him to the Denver Nuggets. Since then, he has spent time playing basketball in the NBA with the Toronto Raptors, the Phoenix Suns, and the Philadelphia 76ers.
He has also spent time playing in Lithuania and Russia. Weems is able to play both the shooting guard and small forward positions despite his height of 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 metres). In 2014, he was one of the players chosen for the First Team All-EuroLeague.
Because Weems was born with cleft feet, he was warned when he was a toddler that it was possible he would never be able to walk or run normally. Before he found his stride and became a state long-jump and high-jump champion, he stumbled as a child and suffered through hard childhood nights in corrective shoes. He went on to become a state champion in both events.
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