By Scotty Reid, 2/23/2012, news, opinion
The first time I heard racism injected into the Jeremy Lin story was from a Charlotte based sports radio station where on-air personality Frank Garcia said he thought more people were into the Jeremy Lin story over Tim Tebow’s media hype due to racism. It is impossible for me to wrap my mind around Tim Tebow, a struggling NFL quarterback, devout Christian and a white male being held out as a victim of racism. Especially when black rookie quarterback Cam Newton was mostly ignored by the national media even though he was rewriting the NFL record books while having the most prolific rookie passing season to date when a lot of his white critics said he wasn’t smart enough nor did he possess the tools needed to be successful. I knew then that this incredible story of a 6’3” Chinese-American making an impact on the NBA was about to take a turn for the worst.
ESPN fired a sports commentator and editor for both using the phrase “Chink in the amour” following a performance where Lin committed nine turnovers leading to the team’s first loss since he was inserted into the starting line-up. Another controversy erupted over a tweet from black FOX Sports writer, Jason Whitlock who tweeted “Some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple of inches of pain tonight” following a Knicks win. Writing about the firing of the two white ESPN employees, Mike Silvawho is supposed to be some kind of sports media watchdog, claimed that ESPN overreacted but then went on in the same article to call for the firing of Whitlock. Silva suggests that Whitlock was not fired because he was “African-American”. However, he fails to note that Whitlock was not working in his capacity as a writer for FOX Sports when he tweeted from his private Twitter account while the two ESPN employee’s flaps occurred in the course of doing their jobs. Besides, FOX Sports is a subsidiary of News Corp, which also is the parent company of FOX News where offense commentary playing up racial stereotypes is commonplace.
The biggest media blowup pertaining to commentary about Jeremy Lin seems to be what black boxer Floyd Mayweather tweeted. Mayweather took to Twitter to weigh in on Lin and tweeted “Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he's Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don't get the same praise”. Mayweather is now being labeled a racist by UFC President Dana White. For those wondering, Dana White is a white guy with a woman’s name. Despite what White believes, there is some measure of truth to Mayweather’s comments. It is a fact that the hype surrounding Lin is due in part because he is of Chinese descent. How often does a player with his ethnic background come into the NBA and make the splash he has made? With the retirement of Yao Ming, the NBA is looking for the next marketing tool to pitch it’s product to 1.3 billion Chinese. Many black point guards produce the same kind of stats as Lin but outside of their local media markets, are not getting the kind of national media attention or obsession with Lin. How many people outside of NBA fans have heard of point guard Ty Lawson? Perhaps because Lawson is black or his team is not in New Yorkor he never had to work his way up through the NBA’s D-league, is the reason he is not garnering the same Lin-like attention of the national media.
Interestingly, Mayweather’s comments are not even close to being in the same league as the comments solicited by two white sportscasters on San Francisco’s KNBR’s 1050, The hosts of the Nick and Artie showurged listeners to call in with their best racist jokes about Jeremy Lin and one threw out an example and said that Jeremy Lin should do the laundry of teammate Carmelo Anthony. The Nick and Artie show’s blatant display of racism has not garnered the national media attention or the lambasting that Mayweather has.
It seems a pattern is emerging which is a number of white men involved in sports have come out and defended, ignored or made excuses for other white men making suspected and outright racist comments about Lin but have no problem going after black men like Whitlock and Mayweather. Perhaps Mike Silva and Dana White have not heard the recent comments by Erik Spoelstra who is the first Asian-American NBA head coach whose Miami Heat will soon face Lin and the Knicks. Spoelstra’s comments seem to agree with Mayweather in that the coverage of Lin is due in part to his ethnicity when he said, "It's a great rags-to-riches story, that's the bigger story. And hopefully years from now it'll be about that, not about the ethnicity." Do not look for Spoelstra who is of Pilipino descent to be taken to task by the national media and called a racist by the likes of Dana White. Eric Holder is wrong, America does have the courage to discuss matters of race but do not expect it to be an honest discussion, especially from white men who are at the top of the food chain in a system of white supremacy.