While Jordon is the big football fan in the house, I like basketball and as a basketball fan, I had to follow Jeremy Lin and Linsanity. Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports has a disturbing and sad post on the racism that has gone behind the coverage of Lin’s rise as a basketball star. It’s a must read.
The alleged “Worldwide Leader In Sports” woke up Saturday morning, only to find that it needed to wash an entire farmhouse full of eggs off its big, dumb face. ESPN’s epic and well-discussed faux pas — putting a “Chink in the Armor” headline on a story about New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin — was an embarrassment of fairly colossal proportions, especially since the network had spent most of its previous two weeks living off the name of the Chinese-American basketball player who had been on quite the impressive run.
Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports got in the action with this line.
Some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple inches of pain tonight.
Not only does Whitlock sound like a racist but comes across as a total pig as well. Of course it isn’t just Lin, it is Cam Newton, Willie Mays, and every black quarterback who has played in the NFL.
Back to Farrar
I thought the last part of ESPN’s second apology cut to the real heart of the matter. Why do Jeremy Lin’s accomplishments need to be specifically collated as a point of pride for Asian-Americans? Isn’t it a point of pride for anyone who follows sports when somebody who nobody expected to make it shocks the world? Doesn’t the story of Jeremy Lin make us feel the way the stories of Kurt Warner, and Bill Russell, and Hank Greenberg, and Billie Jean King, and Cito Gaston, and on and on and on, make us feel? Don’t we all like it when somebody beats the odds and shoves “You can’t do this” right back in somebody else’s face? Doesn’t that make us all believe that we can beat the odds in our own lives?
I’ve always believed that we’ll truly be beyond all this garbage when a person of color — any color — goes 50 feet above the line, and it isn’t a big political thing anymore. I thought that maybe, just maybe, we’d gotten halfway there when Tony Dungy coached against Lovie Smith in Super Bowl XLI and most people didn’t seem to hold it up as any specific milestone. These guys are qualified to do this. What’s the big deal?
Nope. Not just yet. Some people have simply switched continents as the targets of their sophomoric ire. Until they run out of continents, and other perceived dividers, we’ve got that many miles to go before the real work is done.