Over the weekend a video started making the rounds that appeared to show Sixers guard J.J. Redick throwing the slur “chink” into a video celebrating the Chinese New Year:
It’s very hard to watch this video—and especially this video, which zeroes in on Redick’s message—and not wonder whether J.J. Redick is, in fact, trying to smuggle an insult into what is otherwise meant to be a greeting. If there’s anything that might make me hesitate, it’s that it would be an incredibly brazen and shitheaded move for someone as prominent as Redick—even if he were the sort of asshole to use that slur, inserting it into an NBA branded video would presumably come with major professional consequences.
Sunday Redick responded to the controversy and apologized, describing what is heard in the video as an especially unfortunate case of fumbled speech:
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 on 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.