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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Jason Whitlock apologizes for ruining Jeremy Lin’s story, not for racist joke

Jason Whitlock addressed the racist tweet he sent about Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin Friday, apologizing for ruining the great story, but failing to apologize for invoking a stereotype.

Responding to the Asian American Journalists Association which called for him to apologize, Whitlock wrote the following:

I get Linsanity. I’ve cried watching Tiger Woods win a major golf championship. Jeremy Lin, for now, is the Tiger Woods of the NBA. I suspect Lin makes Asian Americans feel the way I feel when I watch Tiger play golf.

I should’ve realized that Friday night when I watched Lin torch the Lakers. For Asian Americans and a lot of sports fans, his nationally-televised 38-point outburst was the equivalent of Tiger’s first victory in The Masters. I got caught up in the excitement. I tweeted about what a great story Lin is and how he could rival Tim Tebow.

I then gave into another part of my personality — my immature, sophomoric comedic nature. It’s been with me since birth, a gift from my mother and honed as a child listening to my Godmother’s Richard Pryor albums. I still want to be a standup comedian.

The couple-inches-of-pain tweet overshadowed my sincere celebration of Lin’s performance and the irony that the stereotype applies to pot-bellied, overweight male sports writers, too. As the Asian American Journalist Association pointed out, I debased a feel-good sports moment. For that, I’m truly sorry.

That’s a weak apology from Whitlock, and it really isn’t much of one. He doesn’t address the racial stereotype from his tweet which is what many people found extremely inappropriate. The issue isn’t really that he “debased a feel-good sports moment,” but that one of the industry’s leaders on race in sports used a racial stereotype to discredit a professional athlete. That’s what he should have apologized for, not for ruining the story.

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