The push for the word racism to be involved with the remarkable emergence of Jeremy Lin needs to end immediately.
There are a ton of articles on this site, as well as an abundance of others, discussing the amazing stats that he has put up in the previous four games. If you are looking for an article full of stats and numbers, look elsewhere.
Instead, I am going to discuss my disappointment with those who cover sports, who are attempting to bring the dark cloud of racism and place it over the bright and promising career ahead for Mr. Lin.
Last night, during the Knicks/Lakers game broadcasted on ESPN featuring Lin against the Black Mamba, a sign was televised by ESPN that I found to be extremely creative.
The sign, seen here, had the phrase “The Yellow Mamba” which was clearly thought of by a Knicks fan who wanted to take a small dig at Kobe Bryant for not knowing too much about the former Harvard point guard before they played.
It’s creative. Kobe Bryant is an African American, and has been called the Black Mamba for quite some time, and no one has taken offense.
In baseball, Houston Astros Hispanic player Carlos Lee is often referred to as "El Caballo," and he loves his nickname.
How about Chicago Bulls White athlete Brian Scalabrine, the White Mamba? Everyone finds that hilarious.
That’s why I was shocked this morning to see the sign all over the internet, as many demanded an apology for ESPN for their “racism and insensitivity” they displayed during last night’s broadcast.
I’ve spoke with a few avid basketball fans I know of Chinese descent, as well as multiple friends of other ethnicities just to see if I was looking at this in the wrong light.
I found that I seem to be in the majority on this subject, as most found nothing wrong with the sign.
I live in Houston, and the years I spent watching Yao Ming, A.K.A. the Great Wall, I never heard a single disapproval of his nickname, which was obviously a reference to the Chinese landmark for a Chinese born player.
Maybe it is because it’s New York. Maybe a remarkable story of a kid from an Ivy League school making it all the way to stardom after being cut by two different teams isn’t enough of a story. Perhaps there just isn’t enough controversy with a kid who was scared to purchase his own home in New York because of his fear of getting cut from a roster once again. Is the problem that there is nothing offensive about an amazing offensive performance?
I’m not saying his race should be ignored. I am saying his race should be embraced rather than made into controversy. This is an opportunity to eliminate just a sliver of racism that exists in America today, and instead we are adding fuel to the fire by trying to turn this into a story.
ESPN owes no one an apology, and a sign comparing a young kid to a basketball great like Kobe Bryant should not turn into a controversy. The worldwide leader in sports would not purposely promote racism on their network, and you are naïve if you believe that was done to be offensive to anyone.
The Yellow Mamba. The Harvard Hurricane. Linsanity. Super Lintendo. Jeremy Lin. No matter the name, they all are a reference to an outstanding athlete, who finally is getting a real chance to play the sport he loves.
Don’t let ignorant comments create racism that is not needed. Let the kid enjoy this fun ride that he is on. He is in the headlines for his play on the court, not his skin color.
Let’s keep it that way.
Feel free to share your thoughts below. Also, follow Brandon Wheeland on Twitter @BrandonWheeland