Brooklyn Nets point guard Jeremy Lin told some disturbing stories about racism that he dealt with during his college career at Harvard on a podcast with teammate Randy Foye on Wednesday.
Appearing on the “Outside Shot with Randy Foye” podcast, Lin explained how he dealt with multiple instances of racism and negative stereotypes from fans, opposing coaches and the referees who ignored it. Lin played at Harvard from 2006-2010 before bursting on the NBA scene as the first American-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent.
“The worst was at Cornell, when I was being called a c—k,” Lin said to Foye 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 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 also had a bad experience at Vermont when he claims an opposing coach used a slur to describe Lin to an official.
“In Vermont — I remember, because I had my hands up while the Vermont player was shooting free throws — their coach was like, ‘Hey ref! You can’t let that Oriental do that!’ I was like, ‘What is going on here?’ I have been called a c—k by players in front of the refs; the refs heard it, because they were yelling it, ‘Yeah, get that out, c—k!’ And the ref heard it, looked at both of us and didn’t do anything.
“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.”
Lin also says that one Georgetown fan repeatedly heckled him using Asian stereotypes, yelling “chicken fried rice”, “beef lo mein” and “beef and broccoli” at him during the game. Fans at Yale also attacked Lin using another stereotype about his eyes.
“They were like, ‘Hey! Can you even see the scoreboard with those eyes?'” Lin said of the incident.
These stories from Lin are obviously disturbing, and it would be interesting to hear if other Asian-American college basketball players have experienced similar things. With Lin being the most prominent Asian-American basketball player of all-time, these stories are sure to generate some more attention to this issue.