|ESPN.com: Commentary||[Print without images]|
|It's great to root for Jeremy Lin. But is it OK to assume you have to if you're Asian-American?|
I don't care how well Jeremy Lin is playing for the New York Knicks.
So what if we're both Asian-Americans?
Turn on the television. Read websites and magazines. Listen to the talking heads. He's everywhere.
He's the NBA's version of the NFL's Tim Tebow, his league's global savior.
|He's a fabulous story. But one Asian-American sports fan wonders if the political correctness about Jeremy Lin is becoming overbearing.|
Please don't automatically assume that every Asian-American is rooting for him to become a star and help the Knicks make the playoffs.
And don't automatically assume that every Asian-American is offended by the jokes and comments about Lin.
Over the weekend, Ben & Jerry's apologized for including fortune cookies in its "Taste the Lin-Sanity" frozen yogurt sold in Boston.
"We offer a heartfelt apology if anyone was offended by our handmade Lin-Sanity flavor," Ben & Jerry's said in a statement.
Was the frozen yogurt really that offensive? The company didn't do it as a slight to Lin, but to honor him.
I was born in Vietnam to a Chinese woman and a U.S. military police officer and have lived most of my life in the United States.
I don't know how to use chopsticks. I don't know any Chinese words. I can't tell the difference between Korean, Chinese or Japanese -- when it comes to the spoken word, the written word or physical appearance.
Gaffes have been made in the media on the subject of Lin, and journalistic organizations from the Poynter Institute to the Asian American Journalists Association to the Associated Press Sports Editors have weighed in.
I applaud them for making their views known, but don't tell me how I should feel on the subject. And don't try to make me feel guilty if I'm not offended by the words.
|Chances are, Lin didn't set out to be a spokesperson for anyone.|
Guilt by the media and NBA management likely plays a part because we feel ashamed we didn't notice this star-in-the-making. That's why we use these phrases in so many stories:
"Lin was cut by two NBA teams "
That still means he actually made two NBA teams. How many people in the United States can say that?
"Lin was stuck on the end of the bench for the Knicks "
Maybe that means he wasn't playing well and he now has the confidence to drive the lane and shoot the ball from 3-point range?
"Lin praises Jesus "
And that makes him different than the millions of others who do?
Listen, I'm not saying the Jeremy Lin story isn't a good one. I'm happy he's doing what he loves. But the dude just wants to play basketball.
He isn't looking to be a role model. He isn't looking to speak for a generation.
Stop making generalizations about Asian-Americans, that all of us are running outside to play basketball now, or that we're collecting every Lin item we can find.
The same thoughts came about when Tiger Woods -- who is a combination of Asian, African-American, Native American and Dutch -- hit the golf scene and the media instantly raced out to see whether the golf world had changed.
Let this Lin story play itself out.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but I laughed when I read columnist Jason Whitlock's tweet about Lin.
|Can't we just let him play, and stop making generalizations about Asian-Americans?|
I get how some people might be offended, but I'm not allowed to laugh at someone trying to make a joke? Ever see Daniel Tosh's show?
Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. is getting crushed by media and other athletes for saying that Lin is getting all this praise because he's Asian. People, like UFC president Dana White, are calling Mayweather racist. Really?
I may not agree with everything Mayweather has said, but can't someone have an opinion and express it without persecution?
A mobile editor for ESPN.com was fired for using an inappropriate phrase in a headline about a Knicks' loss recently. An ESPN TV anchor was suspended for saying the same phrase on the air during an interview.
I totally understand the reason for the punishment my company handed down, but is it wrong for me to believe there was no malice on their part?
We're taking this political correctness to new heights with the Jeremy Lin phenomenon.
Lynn Hoppes is Senior Director for Page 2 and Commentary for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.