Brooklyn Nets point guard Jeremy Lin recently compared the racial taunts he received in college at Harvard to the ones has gotten in the NBA.
In a podcast with a Nets teammate called “The Outside Shot with Randy Foye,” Lin, the NBA’s first American born player of Chinese descent, said the racial taunts in received in college we worst than the one he received in the NBA.
“The worst was at Cornell, when I was being called a c—k,” Lin said on the podcast. “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.”
Lin went on to recall an incident where an assistant coach at a Vermont college used to racial slur for Asian people when speaking with a referee during the game.
“It’s crazy. My teammate started yelling at the ref, ‘You just heard it, it was impossible for you not to hear that. How could you not do something?’ And the ref just pretended like nothing happened. That was when I was like, Yo, this [kind of racism and prejudice] is a beast. So, when I got to the NBA, I thought this is going to be way worse. But it is way better. Everybody is way more under control.”
When Lin broke into the NBA back in 2012, a string of dog whistle rhetoric came from people who weren’t used to seeing an Asian basketball player make a name for himself.
Cody Cejda, Northwestern’s director of football operations, tweeted “There’s finally a NBA player who plays hard and says the right things off the court,” while using the official account of football coach Pat Fitzgerald when referencing a game when Lin dropped 38 points on the Lakers. Some saw the tweet as racist.
A week later, ESPN said they fired an employee and suspended an anchor for using “offensive and inappropriate comments” in its coverage of Lin. The phrase, which carries racial overtones when used in reference to an Asian person, appeared on the site for more than 30 minutes before it was taken down.
Later on the in the podcast, Lin discussed how stereotypes of Asian people played into how teams perceived him during the NBA draft combine.
Lin went undrafted.
“The biggest thing about me was no one had ever seen a player like me in terms of just my natural appearance,”Lin said. “So coming out of college, everybody who criticized me was like, He is too weak and not fast enough and not athletic enough. And if you look at the combine stuff, me and John Wall were tied for first in the fastest sprint. So my speed and the stats were there, but every time they would write about me, they would say he is not going to be fast enough, he is not going to be strong enough, he is not athletic enough.”