Racial slur used during Taiwan college basketball game causes uproar

03/02/2021 04:25 PM
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Mohammad Al Bachir Gadiaga on the Shih Hsin University team (on the floor) plays during the game against National Taiwan Normal University. CNA photo Feb. 27, 2021
Mohammad Al Bachir Gadiaga on the Shih Hsin University team (on the floor) plays during the game against National Taiwan Normal University. CNA photo Feb. 27, 2021

Taipei, March 2 (CNA) A racist name-calling incident during a recent college basketball game in Taipei sparked a heated exchange between players and prompted the Sports Administration to adopt stricter rules to ensure sportsmanship on the court.

The incident occurred Feb. 27 during a game in the University Basketball Association (UBA) tournament, when the N-word was hurled at Mohammad Al Bachir Gadiaga, a Senegalese-Taiwanese player.

Bachir, who is on the Shih Hsin University (SHU) team, complained to the referee that the racial slur was used by National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) player Lin Shih-hsuan (林仕軒) about 4 seconds before the end of an intense quarterfinal game.

With NTNU holding a 65-62 lead, the Shih Hsin University players were trying to foul their opponents and thus prevent them from running out the clock.

"He called me a n*****!" Bachir told the referee, after a tussle in which he made a hard swipe at an NTNU player.

The referee did not act on the complaint but instead gave both sides a technical foul, and NTNU held onto its lead until the final whistle.

NTNU
NTNU's Lin Shih-hsuan (center left) poses with Bachir (center right) after giving another apology following a game on Tuesday. CNA photo March 2, 2021

After the game, Lin apologized to Bachir and also to SHU, which said later in a statement that it had accepted the apology.

NTNU coach Wang Chih-chun (王志群) said the name-calling occurred amid high emotions among players from both sides, and the school will focus more on better handling of such incidents.

The Sports Administration, meanwhile, issued a statement on March 1, saying it will adopt international rules for all subsequent games to prevent similar incidents.

Any flagrant unsportsmanlike actions by players will be considered a disqualifying foul, in line with International Basketball Federation (FIBA) rules, it said, adding that schools need to teach more about respect for ethnic diversity.

On Tuesday, NTNU made an official apology to Bachir, the SHU and members of the public for causing the trouble, adding that Lin will be suspended from upcoming games in the round robin.

In a meeting among Lin, Bachir, their respective teams and school representatives, the two players shook hands, with Bachir noting that he had already forgiven Lin, who apologized for his behavior right after the game.

Commenting on the issue, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said Tuesday that racial discrimination is unacceptable, and the details of the Feb. 27 incident should be investigated. 

Sports teams in Taiwan have become more ethnically diverse in recent years, particularly those in the professional basketball league PLEAGUE+, which all have at least three non-Asian players.

PLEAGUE+ African-American player Quincy Davis, who renounced his United States citizenship in 2013 to become a Taiwan citizen, said in 2015 that he was comfortable in Taiwan.

"This country wants to embrace me, and so far they've taken me to heart, and taken to heart the views of MLK (Martin Luther King Jr.) to only be judged by the content of your character, not the color of your skin," he told Taiwan Business TOPICS by American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan.

(By William Yen and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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