NBA NEWS - Former NBA point guard Ty Lawson said he meant "no disrespect" after lewd social media posts about Chinese women stirred an outcry and saw him axed by China's Fujian Sturgeons basketball team.
The Sturgeons said they will not renew Lawson's deal for the upcoming Chinese Basketball Association season, which starts next month, over "inappropriate remarks" by the 32-year-old.
Lawson, a former Denver Nuggets star who has played three seasons in the CBA, posted the offending messages on Instagram during a night out.
Widely circulated screen grabs show Lawson in a compromising position with a semi-clad woman, accompanied by sexually suggestive captions.
The posts "were not in line with the club's long-held social responsibility and core values", the Sturgeons said Saturday in a statement.
Lawson's contract had ended with the previous CBA season and would not be renewed it in light of his posts, the team added.
The basketballer took to Instagram on Sunday to deny his comments were racist or sexist, as claimed by outraged Chinese social-media users, while adding he was dancing with a woman at a club rather than a strip joint as reported.
People "told me not to address this... but I got to speak up for myself", Lawson said. "I'm the probably least racist person you've met in your life," he added.
"I meant no disrespect... everybody (who) knows me in China knows I'm not that person."
Earlier the Sturgeons promised to "strengthen education for players in terms of thought quality", describing the incident as "a wake-up call for the club".
State media fanned the online outrage, with nationalist tabloid Global Times accused Lawson of "insulting" Chinese women.
Lawson signed with the Sturgeons in September 2019, after two seasons with another Chinese team, the Shandong Golden Stars.
He had previously caused outrage after a video showing him involved in an altercation in a Shanghai Starbucks went viral in August.