China Fines Former NBA Player For Failing to Stare at Chinese Flag During National Anthem

Athlete says he was praying!

Image Credits: Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images.

A former NBA player was fined and given a ‘serious warning’ after he failed to properly acknowledge the Chinese flag during a pre-game national anthem ceremony.

Guerschon Yabusele, a former Boston Celtic who now plays for the Nanjing Monkey Kings in the Chinese Basketball Association, was hit with a 10,000 yuan ($1,420) fine after he was observed with head bowed during the Chinese national anthem, the Global Times reports.

Chinese law requires all citizens to gaze upon the flag in respect while the anthem is being played.

Yabusele, a French citizen, says he was praying during the moment in question, but has offered deep apologies, vowing to “show my respect during the Chinese national anthem and keep my head up for now on,” the Daily Mail reports.

“I have the same routine, I’ve been doing this my whole career and I wanted to apologize for the people that took it Personnal [sic] because it was not my point,” Yabusele wrote on social media.

The incident comes just shortly after China’s influence in the affairs of American professional basketball became much clearer amid controversy linked to protests in Hong Kong.

A single tweet of support for the Hong Kong protesters by Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey triggered a diplomatic firestorm on both sides of the Pacific, with top NBA stars and executives effectively abiding by Chinese censorship policies instead of American free speech protections.

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Dan Lyman: