ESPN’s lead in line for the New York Knick’s loss last night was “Chink in the Armor.” Since coming to the forefront of the national sports media scene over the last month, Jeremy Lin has been the victim of unacceptable comments by both fans and the media. It is surprising that such a headline would make it through the editorial process of a reputed news outlet like ESPN. It was just one of many comments made in reference to Lin.
Floyd Mayweather spouted off with a racially infused statement, hinting that Lin was only hyped because his was Asian. Jason Whitlock, who in the past has decried the lack of black representation in certain areas of sports like on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Committee , also had showed lack of thought in talking about Lin. His tweet about Lin that “Some lucky lady in NYC is going to feel a couple of inches of pain tonight” was so infused with racial insensitivity and stereotyping that it’s a wonder he kept his job. Madison Square Garden flirted with the edge of racist tenor when a picture of Lin above a fortune cookie was displayed Wednesday. The grace and poise in which Lin has responded to these remarks/incidents is an example for all.
What people should be discussing is Lin’s tremendous talent and exciting start, not his heritage. Lin, who is of Taiwanese descent, was born in Los Angeles. Yes, he has parents who came from Taiwan, but Lin is an American. The real problem people are having everywhere is being able to look beyond his appearance and judge him solely as an AMERICAN basketball player. Until we can look beyond someone’s skin to quantify someone’s performance (i.e. replace “Jeremy Lin is the first Asian point guard to do…” with “Jeremy Lin is the first Knicks point guard to do…”), I fear insensitive comments like Lin has been subjected to will continue to permeate the media and society itself.
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