A former NBA player has been reprimanded and fined US$1,300.00 by sports officials in China for not looking at the Chinese flag during the national anthem. State television former Boston celtics player Guerschon Yabusele,had his head down before Friday’s game.
Players with the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) are forced to stare at the national flag during the “March of the Volunteers” anthem.
Yabusele was given a “serious warning” and a US$1,300.00 fine for not looking at the flag as required.
Yabusele, who played in the NBA for the Boston Celtics for two seasons before joining the CBA team this year, has not commented on the incident.
China’s government has stepped up forced patriotism under President Xi Jinping. Legislation was approved in 2017 to punish anyone who disrespects the national anthem with up to three years in prison.
Opinions on Yabusele’s punishment were divided on Chinese social media.
“He’s happy to take money from China, but he doesn’t respect it,” one person wrote on the China’s Weibo social media platform. “This player must be expelled immediately and his club must be disqualified from the championship,” another said.
“Many found the sanction to be harsh”
“It’s nonsense. First, he’s not Chinese. Moreover, he stood up and didn’t make any insulting gesture,” one person wrote.
“He has his head down. So what? In what era does the CBA live? It’s 50 years behind.”
Yabusele is not the first foreign athlete to break patriotic rules in China.
Last year, Brazilian Diego Tardelli was handed a one-game ban for rubbing his face during the anthem before a game.
NBA Bows to China Money
Earlier this year the NBA came under fire from China for comments made by players with regards to Hong Kong. Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted an image bearing the message “fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.”
It was a short tweet. Only seven words. But it ripped the façade off of two giant forces, the Chinese government and the NBA. He deleted the tweet shortly after he posted it.
Shortly after the tweet, all 11 of the NBA’s official partners in China suspended their ties with the league.
All this for a tweet that the Chinese people couldn’t even see — because Twitter is banned in China.