Posted on January 24, 2022

Basketball Player Sonny Weems Racially Taunted in China

Biba Adams, The Grio, January 20, 2022

Sonny Weems, a Black former NBA small forward/shooting guard who now plays in China for the Guangdong Southern Tigers, has been the subject of recent racial taunts.

In the video now circulating on social media, Chinese basketball fans shout the N-word and “Get out of China” after a game against the Liaoning Flying Leopards last week. During the game, Weems and Leopards player Han Dejun got into an altercation, and both players were ejected from the game.

The incident comes just weeks before the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, which begins Feb. 4 in Beijing, a fact that Republican Florida Sen. Rick Scott pointed out on Twitter. “Racial hate is disgusting & can never be tolerated,” Scott wrote. “This underscores why @TeamUSA must answer my questions about how it will ensure the safety & security of U.S. Olympians competing in Beijing. Will the @NBA condemn this?”

The Chinese Basketball Association released a statement about the incident afterward, saying the organization has a “zero-tolerance attitude toward any discriminatory words or deeds.” {snip}


Weems has not commented about last week’s incident on social media. However, other users are offering their opinions. One writer, Noah Smith, made a historical comparison, writing, “Jeez. Reminds me of Jesse Owens…”

Another twitter user noted, “After Sonny Weems was attacked with racial slurs, China — a country renowned for its online censorship — didn’t even bother to censor the N-word, and Chinese basketball fans continue to use to N-word both online and offline.”