TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A University Basketball Association (UBA) basketball player who used a racial slur against an African-Taiwanese player over the weekend apologized in person on Tuesday (March 2).
In the closing seconds of a tight game between National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) and Shih Hsin University (SHU) on Saturday (Feb. 27), African-Taiwanese player Mohammad Al Bachir Gadiaga (阿巴西) from the SHU squad fouled a player from NTNU to stop the clock and gain another possession. Out of anger at the infraction, NTNU player Lin Shih-hsuan (林仕軒) allegedly hurled a racial slur at Al Bachir.
In a video of the game, Al Bachir can be heard telling the referee in Mandarin that Lin had called him a "heigui" (黑鬼, N-word). He then told the official in English, twice, that "He called me a n*****!"
Lin Shih-hsuan and Mohammad Al Bachir Gadiaga in heated exchange over slur during game. (CNA photo)
The referee responded by calling non-shooting fouls on both teams but still gave NTNU possession of the ball and the win 1.1 seconds later. When the two squads were supposed to shake hands, Al Bachir and Lin argued with each other. After teammates tried to calm Al Bachir, the two sides lined up, paused for a tense moment, and shook hands again.
Lin said that he apologized to Al Bachir and SHU after the game. The university confirmed in a statement released that day that it had accepted Lin's apology.
NTNU coach Wang Chih-chun (王志群) was cited Monday (March 1) by Apple Daily as saying that Lin had apologized to Al Bachir after the game and that Lin would not be suspended from any games. However, the handling of the incident by the team, university, and league drew criticism online, particularly for the lack of any disciplinary action.
Al Bachir confronts Lin and his teammates over the slur after the game. (CNA photo)
Later that day, the Sports Administration pledged it would implement international rules to deal with such incidents. In the future, such unsportsmanlike behavior will be punished with an ejection, as per International Basketball Federation (FIBA) rules.
On Tuesday (March 2), the director of NTNU's athletic department Wang Ho-sen (王鶴森) and Lin visited the SHU locker room after a game. Wang announced that the university has implemented three measures in response to the incident.
First, he formally apologized to Al Bachir and SHU for Lin's behavior during the game. Second, he said that Lin will be suspended from the remaining Top 8 tournament games to reflect on his actions.
Lin apologizes for his actions. (CNA photo)
Third, Wang pledged to better educate SHU athletes to prevent similar incidents from happening again in the future. Also present in the locker room was SHU Vice President Yang Sheng-yu (楊盛昱), who said that he had accepted NTNU's apology and that the focus in the future will be on athletic pursuits while respecting one another.
Lin then presented a gift to Al Bachir, who shook hands with him and put his arm around him as the two posed for photos. Al Bachir pointed out that Lin had apologized immediately after the game and "because he sincerely apologized, I forgave him," reported CNA.
Lin said that he blamed himself for letting his emotions get the better of him and causing trouble for Al Bachir, the universities, and the public. He was cited by the news agency as saying, "When you do something wrong, you have to face up to it. Only then can you relieve the burden and pressure."
Lin sits out a subsequent game. (CNA photo)
The NTNU team's coach said that he hopes to establish a better team culture and educate the players into understanding that "There are certain things that should not be said and things that should not be done." He declined to announce exactly how many games Lin would be suspended from, saying the decision to allow him to play would depend on the situation.
Video showing a formal apology by NTNU's athletic director, Lin, and school officials: