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A day after league officials reportedly started investigating a claim made by Santa Cruz Warriors guard Jeremy Lin that he was called “coronavirus” during a game, Lin shared on social media that he is “not naming or shaming anyone.”
“I know this will disappoint some of you but I’m not naming or shaming anyone,” he wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Violence against Asian Americans has increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when some politicians, including former President Trump, blamed the virus on China. In June, the White House defended Trump’s use of “Kung flu” when referring to the virus, furthering the use of racist rhetoric towards Asians and Asian Americans.
The Stop Asian American and Pacific Islander Hate reporting center documented over 2,800 hate incidents across the U.S. from its inception on March 19 to Dec. 31, 2020. The Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian American Justice Center, recorded more than 3,000 hate incidents in their self-reporting system since late April 2020.
“When I experience racism in the Ivy League, it was my assistant coach Kenny Blakeney that talked me through it,” wrote Lin. “He shared with me his own experiences as a Black man – stories of racism I couldn’t begin to comprehend. Stories including being called the n-word and having things thrown at him from cars. He drew from his experience with identity to teach me how to stay strong in mine. He was also the first person to tell me I was an NBA player as a sophomore at Harvard. I thought he was crazy.”
Lin continued the thought-provoking post with ways to better support Asian American communities that are experiencing racism.
“Listen to the voices that are teaching us how to be anti-racist towards ALL people,” Lin wrote. “Hear others stories, expand your perspective. I believe this generation can be different. But we will need empathy and solidarity to get us there.”
In a Facebook post Thursday – also shared on Instagram Friday – Lin spoke out against racism towards Asian American communities and shared examples of what he has experienced including being called “coronavirus” while playing basketball.
“Being an Asian American doesn’t mean we don’t experience poverty and racism.
Being a 9 year NBA veteran doesn’t protect me from being called “coronavirus” on the court.” Lin wrote.
Lin did not share specific details about when or where the incident took place but garnered attention and support from Warriors coach Steve Kerr.
“I saw the Facebook post just now, really powerful, Kerr said during a pregame press conference before the Warriors hosted the Charlotte Hornets on Friday. “I applaud Jeremy for his words and echo his sentiment regarding racism against the Asian American community.
“It’s just so ridiculous and obviously spawned by many people including our former president as it relates to the coronavirus originating in China. It’s just shocking. I can’t wrap my head around any of it, but I can’t wrap my head around racism in general.”
Lin, 32, became the first American-born NBA player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent when he broke into the league with the Warriors during the 2010-11 season and became a household name during his time with the Knicks in 2011-12. Lin is part of a very small group of NBA players who identify as Asian American or Asian, making up less than 0.5% of the league.