Since being thrust into the national spotlight, New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin has had to deal with comments regarding his race from the likes of boxer Floyd Mayweather and columnist Jason Whitlock on Twitter, but now his own broadcast is perpetuating stereotypes.
According to Sporting News, MSG Network, who broadcasts the vast majority of the Knicks' games, posted a graphic showing Lin's face above a fortune cookie with the message "The Knicks good fortune." The graphic was shown following the Knicks' 100-85 win over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday and obviously played off Lin's Asian-American roots.
I'm normally not one to get up in arms when it comes to racial overtones, but there is no question that this particular graphic had no place on MSG's broadcast. Lin hasn't commented on it and perhaps he hasn't even seen it, but I can't imagine that he would have been a big fan of it.
It seems to me like Lin is happy to use his heritage in order to inspire other Asian Americans, but when it comes down to it, he wants to be treated like any other NBA player. Whoever made the graphic either knew that it was going to be controversial or was too ignorant to understand the potential pitfalls.
When a black player or a white player has a great game, there aren't graphics made that show their respective heads floating over a stereotypical food that may be linked to them. It's understandable why Lin is being treated differently since Asian Americans in the NBA are rare, but things have started to go overboard.
Few players, of any race, have ever taken the league by storm like Lin has. Just a couple weeks ago he was struggling to even be an active participant in games and now he is suddenly playing like an MVP-caliber point guard. Since Lin began receiving big minutes, the Knicks are 7-0 and haven't shown any signs of slowing down.
He scored at least 20 points in each of his first six games with extended playing time and while he only scored 10 points on Wednesday night, he dished out a career-high 13 assists. Lin attempted only six shots on Wednesday after throwing up 20 or more in each of his previous three contests.
Lin proved to be a very versatile player against the Kings and that certainly bodes well for when Carmelo Anthony returns from a groin injury. Lin may not be scoring as much when Melo does come back, but it is starting to become quite apparent that Lin is here to stay.
Because of that, media outlets need to learn how to handle their coverage of him. Making mention of him being Asian American is perfectly fine and is something that is almost impossible to omit, but making a mockery of his heritage is unacceptable and bush league on the part of whoever does it.
What makes MSG's graphic so upsetting is the fact that the network represents the Knicks. For MSG to essentially insult one of its own players is beyond dumb. If the television broadcast for an opposing team would have made that graphic it would have been equally stupid, but at least they could have claimed ignorance.
There is really no excuse for why MSG made the graphic, but it certainly has some explaining to do. Lin will probably let it roll down his back and continue to play lights-out basketball, but that doesn't account for any Asian people who might have been watching the game on television.
The graphic not only made a mockery of Lin, but it was a bit of a slap in the face to all Asian people. MSG must issue an apology and refrain from any such stereotypical graphics in the future because it simply reflects badly upon the network.