Feb 19, 2012
kosmo - See all 770 of my articles
As you probably know, Jeremy Lin has been taking the NBA by storm lately. He even managed to get me to write an article about him last week. Considering that I’ve very apathetic about the NBA for nearly twenty years, that’s a pretty big accomplishment.
On Friday night, the seven game winning streak of the Knicks was snapped. Lin’s nine turnovers – eight in the first half – didn’t help New York’s chance. He’d turned the ball over eight times in a game two other times, and would finish with seven in Sunday’s game (six in the second half), and while the turnovers have brought some negative press in otherwise glowing media reports of his exploits, it was different on Friday night because the Knicks lost.
On Saturday morning, I noticed a headline on ESPN. They were apologizing for a racist Lin-related headline that had appeared on their mobile site for a half hour, beginning at 2:30 AM. By Sunday, they had upped the ante and apologized for thee incidents. In addition to the headline, an ESPNews anchor had said something inappropriate, as had a commentator on a radio show.
ESPN took decisive action. While the commentator was not an employee (and thus out of their reach) the anchor and the headline guy were employees. The anchor was suspended for 30 days … and the headline guy was fired. ESPN (smartly) did not repeat the comment.
This made me very curiously. I had heard all kinds of Lin-related comments (Linsanity, etc) could could not figure out how to turn “Lin” into a racist term. So I hit Google.
Chink in the Armor
Yeah, that was the headline. It was referring to Lin’s propensity to turn the ball over – which is fine – but used a racist term to do it.
This is a guy who was born in the United States, graduated from arguably the most prestigious college in the country (Harvard), and played the one professional sport that was completely invented by an American (as opposed to evolving from other sports).
And still, in 2012, some people see him as simply a “chink”? I applaud ESPN for taking action. Racism has no place in society. The word of sports is predicated upon the concept of a meritocracy. If you shoot a free throw, the basket doesn’t care about your race – but simply whether your aim is true. We should judge athletes by their stats, and not the color of their skin. And that ideal should apply off the playing field a well – judging others by their accomplishments and not their gender, race, religion, age, or sexual orientation.