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Ty Lawson’s Bizarre Week

He made some mistakes obviously but the reactions in China were disturbing and out of proportion

2019/2020 CBA League - Fujian Sturgeons v Zhejiang Golden Bulls
QINGDAO, CHINA - JULY 15: Ty Lawson #1 of Fujian Sturgeons saves the ball during 2019/2020 Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) League match between Fujian Sturgeons and Zhejiang Golden Bulls on July 15, 2020 in Qingdao, Shandong Province of China.
Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images

When we first heard the latest Ty Lawson story it was easy to laugh: there he goes again.

He’s had some alcohol issues, with two and possibly three DWI arrests and time in rehab.

His NBA career crumbled and recently he posted some stuff on Instagram that ripped former coach Roy Williams:

“[You’re] weird... I got messages from 10 NBA GMs that said it came out your mouth ... That’s why I don’t f—k with Carolina or support anything y’all do. ... It’s a blessing I don’t open my mouth about s—t. They ask me why I don’t show love to North Carolina ... Roy Williams knows why.”

Getting in trouble over a stripper?

Seemed like the next logical step really.

Only it’s not that simple.

What he said was “Chinese women got cakes on the low, might switch up my stance soon.” And “YOLO I guess.”

He also posted at least one picture of himself with a stripper.

And that’s it. Bad taste? Okay. Criminal? No.

For that, the Chinese Basketball Association banned him for life. His former team, the Fujian Sturgeons, said this: “His inappropriate words are inconsistent with the social responsibilities and values abided by our club and have brought serious adverse social impacts to the club and the league. We will not sign him for the new season.”

There’s a lot to unpack at this point in the story, starting with how you behave in a foreign country. You can’t assume that the expectations are the same.

And you’d think after wrecking his NBA career, largely due to his drinking, Lawson would stay as far away from alcohol as possible (it’s not clear that he was drinking although in a strip club we’d assume he was. Even if not, he put himself in a situation he’d probably be smart to avoid).

That was where things stood.

Then the Chinese reactions started and to Americans, it was shocking. Lawson got a lot of racist comments and even death threats, all of which understandably bewildered him. Nothing he said or did deserved that. The CBA reaction is over the top; many of the individual reactions were disgusting.

Maybe there’s more to it than what we’ve seen, but at this point, he’d probably be smart to leave the country before things get worse.

He’d also be smart, finally, to just stay away from alcohol. His supposed sins in China, at least from an American perspective, are much more minor than DWIs, but alcohol has caused Lawson enough trouble.

It’s usually easy to poke fun at UNC guys, but not right now. We sincerely wish him the best and hope he’s back home soon.