October 29, 2014 / 6:23 AM / 4 years ago

Former NBA player suffers racial abuse in Australia

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Former NBA player Josh Childress of the United States has shut down his Twitter account after being subject to racial abuse for flooring an opponent during a local league match in Australia.

New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith (8) drives around New Orleans Pelicans small forward Josh Childress (8) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The 31-year-old Childress, who plays for Sydney Kings in Australia’s National Basketball League, was suspended for one game for unduly rough play after rushing at and striking Perth Wildcats forward Jesse Wagstaff with his forearm in an ugly incident during a game on Saturday.

The former Atlanta Hawks, Phoenix Suns and Brooklyn Nets player was subject to a torrent of abuse on Twitter, some of it racial, with several posters telling him to leave the country.

“I have no issue with people who want to condemn Josh’s action last Friday,” Kings chairman Hudson said in a statement on the team’s website (www.sydneykings.com).

“However, I find it disgraceful that certain individuals would use social media to racially abuse Josh.

“Josh is an outstanding individual with great integrity and tremendous character.”

Childress apologized for his hit on Wagstaff, which occurred seconds after he was heavily blocked by the forward. Wildcats won the game 84-63.

“The incident itself was extreme and unnecessary,” he said. “The game was very physical, and when you feel it’s one-sided, you get frustrated.

“I over reacted and did something that was very uncharacteristic, and I apologize for any harm caused.”

Childress was charged with striking with an elbow, unduly rough play and bringing the game into disrepute but the first was dropped and the third amended to a charge of ‘public criticism of referees’.

Former Australia captain Andrew Gaze was critical of the one-game ban and said Childress should consider himself ‘very lucky’.

“In my recollection it’s hard to find one (an incident) more extreme and it sends a poor message to the rest of the basketball community,” Gaze said on local radio station SEN.

Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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