SHANGHAI (AFP) – Former NBA player Joe Young apologised and pledged to abide by China’s strict coronavirus quarantine rules after a “misunderstanding” at the hotel in which he is isolating.
Chinese media published a series of text messages that appeared to show the 27-year-old former Indiana Pacers guard and a friend demanding they be brought food and water in the early hours of the morning, threatening to fetch it themselves.
Young, who recently returned to China to complete the suspended Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) season with Nanjing Monkey Kings, provoked a backlash on Chinese social media as fans branded him arrogant and demanded he be sent back to the US.
“We are sincerely sorry and we apologise to the staff for asking them about a delivery at late night which affected people’s sleep,” the American said in a video posted on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.
“In the future we (will) strictly abide by the Chinese epidemic prevention regulation rules and will improve our words and our deeds,” added Young in the video, which was viewed more than 900,000 times in 14 hours.
“We will not cause any trouble with the people around us and cause any misunderstandings. I love China, I love Nanjing and this is the truth.”
Young is among the foreign players who have returned to China – where the coronavirus emerged in December – in anticipation of the CBA season restarting.
Mid-April was touted at one point but that now looks highly unlikely despite infection rates slowing markedly in the country.
It is the second time in as many weeks that the Houston-born Young has sparked anger in China, having suggested in a tweet that he did not want to return to the country. He also called that a misunderstanding.
Addressing the latest controversy, the Monkey Kings said in a statement that Young, who played for Indiana in 2015-2018, was tired after long-haul travel and was missing his young family in the US.
Separately, Young tweeted on Monday (March 30) that he was donating to Houston 50,000 masks and 300 body suits for hospital workers in the battle against the coronavirus.