Is there racial bias in the NBA towards players who aren’t Black?
A new video raises the question why Asian NBA player Jeremy Lin doesn’t receive the same treatment as other players when hit with excessive force from players on the court.
The Charlotte Hornets’ Jeremy Lin is the focus of a trending video that brings to light what its creator believes is a troubling bias. In more than half a dozen instances of blatant excessive contact, one which even resulted in a nose-bleed, Lin is hammered by defenders (in the 6 1/2 min clip), none of which are called for what would typically be whistled a ‘flagrant foul’. Footage of the imbalance in officiating has spread widely enough to have gotten the attention of both Lin and the NBA, both of whom have released statements to address its content.
The video opens up by showing Philadelphia’s Thomas Robinson draw a flagrant-foul-1 v.s. the Brooklyn Nets on March 15th. It is followed by review of a Dirk Nowitzki’s hack of Denver Nuggets Center Nikola Jokic is presented, followed by a clip of a Kevin Lowry’s arm wrapping up Kevin Wiggins in a Minnesota v.s. Toronto game; both to show examples of when flagrant fouls are typically called in the league. Then the video rolls out a reel of instances in which Lin is clobbered by the likes of Kobe Bryant, Wesley Johnson, Carmelo Anthony, Gorgui Dieng, James Harden and more. The series of hits concludes with creator of the montage, Hsiu-Chen Kuei of San Jose California, beginning to interchange times when Lin was called for fouls without having actually made contact at all.
“The sad thing is this is a nightly occurrence for Jeremy Lynn,” the commentator of the March 12th match up between Houston and Linn’s Charlotte squad is heard stating on one occasion.
The league has since spoken on the matter, arguing in an open letter, that over the last three seasons Lin ranked 21st amongst players, in the number of drives taken to the basket (1,537). While in that time he has not drawn a flagrant, the league defends, neither have Reggie Jackson, Tony Parker, Tyreke Evans, Ty Lawson, Kyrie Irving, or Victor Oladipo; all of whom were recorded to have driven the lane more times than Lin. While these statistics might not necessarily speak to the fact that Lin drew the brunt of hands that would normally be accounted as flagrant, they added that Lin has drawn more “common fouls” than the aforementioned bunch, making him the 7th most fouled player out of 23 whom have driven the lane 1,500 times.
“Lin’s health and safety are at risk, as Lin gets hit unnecessarily and excessively in the face, head, and neck areas by other players frequently,” the video’s creator said. “The most alarming aspect of these incidents is that the referees didn’t make the right calls to protect the player, Lin, from harm. Evidently, the lack of calls and reviews from the referees encourages other players to continue using hard foul tactics on Lin.”
“Obviously I can’t control any of that, so I’ve got to just keep playing. I’d love to get more calls but, you know, it’s just part of it,” Lin responded in a statement. “You’ve got to play through it whether they give it to you or not. You know, I’m just thankful the fans are trying to do something about it and trying to to push the league to at least review some of the stuff.