Former Arkansas Basketball player Sonny Weems was heckled by what appears to be Chinese Basketball Association fans with repeated shouts of the N-word after exiting a bus in China recently, according to the South China Morning Post.
The incident has made headlines around the world. The anger and frustration stemming from the incident is compounded by the fact that this occurred so closely to Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Weems has competed for the Guangdong Hongyuan Southern Tigers in China since 2018. He has bounced around different leagues in different countries since leaving the NBA for the final time in 2016.
Former Arkansas Basketball player repeatedly called N-word by fans in China
A video of the incident was published to a social media site in China and has since made its way to Twitter in the United States.
In the video, you can hear the bystanders shouting at Weems the N-word over and over again. They tell him to “Get out of China!” and use the F-word.
Weems is an African-American man playing in a league comprised primarily of Chinese men and Chinese fans.
We’ve posted the video below, but please be advised it contains expletives and racist remarks.
It’s unclear why the fans chose to shout expletives at Weems, but it could stem from an incident in which Weems and an opposing player were ejected and later fined a substantial amount of money after an on-court scuffle during a game.
It’s unjust and disgusting that Weems had to endure these racist remarks. The governing body of the teams, the Chinese Basketball Association, released a statement once the clips of the incident went viral.
The CBA in part stated, it “firmly opposes and severely condemns any racially discriminatory words or deed.”
“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,” according to the statement.
The statement also added a caveat about the upcoming Olympic games and sets the expectation that Chinese fans should be tolerant and friendly to opposing competitors.
“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.”
Sonny Weems competed for the Arkansas Razorbacks from 2006-2008. A native of West Memphis, Ark., Weems averaged 13.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg and 2.3 apg in his career with the Hogs.