The G League is looking into a claim made by Jeremy Lin that he was called "coronavirus" on the court during a game. Lin, the former NBA guard who is trying to break back into the league, posted on Facebook last week addressing the ongoing racism facing the Asian-American community, while giving personal examples of racism that he's dealt with.
"Being a 9 year NBA veteran doesn't protect me from being called "coronavirus" on the court," Lin wrote in his post.
Lin didn't go into details about when this incident took place, or if it even happened while he's been playing in the G League, which just started its season a couple of weeks ago where he's been playing with the Warriors G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors. Lin went on to further talk about how "this generation of Asian-Americans are tired of being told that we don't experience racism."
"We are tired of being told to keep our heads down and not make trouble. We are tired of Asian American kids growing up and being asked where they're REALLY from, of having our eyes mocked, of being objectified as exotic or being told we're inherently unattractive. We are tired of the stereotypes in Hollywood affecting our psyche and limiting who we think we can be. We are tired of being invisible, of being mistaken for our colleague or told our struggles aren't as real."
A day after making his claim, Lin took to Twitter to make it clear he didn't plan to call out anyone specifically over the offensive comments. Instead, he hoped to use the situation as a learning experience.
"I know this will disappoint some of you but I'm not naming or shaming anyone," Lin said. "What good does it do in this situation for someone to be torn down? It doesn't make my community safer or solve any of our long-term problems with racism... Fighting ignorance with ignorance will get us nowhere. Sharing our own pain by painting another group of people with stereotypes is NOT the way.
"Listen to the voices that are teaching us how to be anti-racist towards ALL people," Lin added. Hear other stories, expand your perspective. I believe this generation can be different. But we will need empathy and solidarity to get us there."
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, there's been a rise in racial attacks against Asian Americans in this country, which has led to many advocacy groups calling for action and change. Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition that has been addressing anti-Asian hate during the COVID-19 pandemic, released a report in August stating that it received over 2,500 claims of hate and discrimination toward Asian Americans since the group was founded in March 2020.
The conversation around racism and discrimination toward Asian Americans has led many prominent people across several industries to speak up on the matter, as the hashtag "StopAsianHate" has trended on Twitter for several days. The National Basketball Players Association issued a statement the same day Lin posted to Facebook, which said:
"The NBPA condemns any and all forms of racism, discrimination or antagonism directed against specific ethnics groups. We stand in solidarity with the Asian-American community and abhor the recent, repugnant acts of violence being committed against them -- this hatred has no place in our society."
On Friday night, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr applauded Lin's words and said he would like to also see the NBA investigate his claim.
"I just saw the Facebook post just now," Kerr said. "Really powerful. I applaud Jeremy for his words and echo his sentiments regarding racism against the Asian American community. It's just so ridiculous and obviously spawned by many people, including our former president [Donald Trump], as it relates to the coronavirus originating in China. It's just shocking. I don't know -- I can't wrap my head around any of it, but I can't wrap my head around racism in general."
Lin was the first American-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent when he started his career with Golden State back in 2010. He quickly rose to fame after he joined the Knicks during the 2011-2012 season, where he averaged 14.6 points, 6.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds in 35 games. He earned the nickname "Linsanity," after putting up 24.4 points and nine assists while leading the Knicks on a seven-game win streak that season.
This isn't the first time Lin has addressed the racism he's faced while playing basketball. During a podcast appearance in 2017, the veteran guard said he's received racist taunts while playing in the NBA, but the worst was during his four years in college at Harvard when he was playing on the road.
"The worst was at Cornell, when I was being called a c---k," Lin said on Outside Shot with Randy Foye. "That's when it happened. I don't know ... that game, I ended up playing terrible and getting a couple of charges and doing real out-of-character stuff. My teammate told my coaches [that] they were calling Jeremy a c---k the whole first half. I didn't say anything, because when that stuff happens, I kind of just, I go and bottle up -- where I go into turtle mode and don't say anything and just internalize everything."
Although Lin has spoken on this numerous times in the past, it often doesn't lead to more action or change from others. Hopefully, this time people will begin to take notice, and people will begin to be held accountable against the abhorrent racism aimed at the Asian American community.