It has been an insane month hasn't it. I almost wrote a post about New York Knicks PG Jeremy Lin during the first week of his emergence. But I held back. Why? I wanted to give it some time to see if he would continue to play at such a high level against better opponents. He most certainly did. His performance against the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks has shown me that he can beat and compete with the best teams in the NBA.
Now this entire month you have had varying view points from every angle on Jeremy Lin. There's the basketball angle. Is he really this good or is it a by product of their head coach Mike D'Antoni's system? You also have the New York angle. Would he be getting this much attention if he were playing on a different team? And unfortunately you have the race angle. It started with boxer Floyd Mayweather spouting off a tweet about Lin only getting this attention because he's asian. He went on to claim that black players don't get this kind of attention in the NBA. Keep telling yourself that Floyd.
My take is that Jeremy Lin is a good basketball player. It's a legitimate question to ask if Mike D'Antoni's system is helping, which I think it is, but Phoenix Suns PG Steve Nash was a great player before playing in D'Antoni's system. To me Lin is exactly what the Knicks have been lacking for a long time. A legitimate point guard to run their offense cohesively.
It's absolutely true that if he were playing for another team he wouldn't be getting this much publicity. The biggest media market in the world had nothing to write or talk about. Spring Training was still another month away in baseball. Even though the New York Giants just won another Super Bowl, the football season is over. The New York tabloids and sports headlines were craving a story and they got one. Now if the Knicks weren't winning, it wouldn't be much of a story either.
I have to say that what Jeremy Lin has done is nothing short of amazing. He has done all this in such a short period of time. And he was already let go by two NBA teams this season. But thanks to Floyd Mayweather it had to take a different turn. Bigotry and racism are two things that define Mr. Mayweather. There's also cowardice and selfishness, but I digress. It should be confronted when someone chooses to go down that path when there is never a discussion for it.
With that said. I want to ask you a question. When you hear or read the phrase, "chink in the armor" what does that mean to you? Have you ever heard or read that phrase before? I know I have. It is a phrase that has been used in medeval times meaning that there is a weak point in your armor. Now I have heard it being used in sports analogies for quite some time. Not often, but enough to know that when I hear or read it I know that it's being used as an analogy to describe a weak point in a team or player.
Now why did ESPN fire an editor who wrote the headline "chink in the armor" and suspend an anchor for 30 days when he said "chink in the armor" in proper context? When you answer that question ask yourself this. Has it gotten so bad that we can't even say anything any word at all that may have another meaning if we use it in proper context?
There is so much good to be told about Jeremy Lin, but when something ugly rears its head we only focus on the bad. Columnists all over the country are now talking about how we must re-focus our attention as a culture to be sensitive to the needs of those who can't stand up for themselves. I'm for that, but they are all missing the point.
You can't assume someone's intent based off one headline. And when someone says the phrase "chink in the armor" in proper context there is no way that he or she was showing any ill will towards that person in the analogy. I didn't even think about race when I read the headline until ESPN apologized for it a few days later.
We have focused our attention in the wrong place when it comes to bigotry and racism. We laughed off Mr. Mayweather's tweet as 'Floyd being Floyd' but I will hold him accountable as the bigoted person that he is.
I am rooting for Jeremy Lin. I think his story is a good one that reminds us that we can still dream and if we work hard that dream will come true. But some folks just won't get that. They will always try to look for another angle to the story when it isn't there. My focus is strictly on sports, but others don't see it that way.