Jeremy Lin: Racist remarks from fans, opponents were worse in college
Jeremy Lin is one of the most prominent Asian American athletes in the country, but it’s probably no surprise to hear that he has dealt with racist insults from fans and opponents alike.
However, the Brooklyn Nets guard said that the worst of it came in college, not in the NBA.
“The worst was at Cornell when I was being called a c—k,” Lin said on the “Outside Shot with Randy Foye” podcast, via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “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 [that] 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 detailed other stories, such as when a Georgetown fan shouted Asian American stereotypes at him, and when he was heckled during a game at Yale over his eyes. He also relayed a story in which an unnamed Vermont coach used a derogatory term that the referees blatantly ignored.
“In Vermont, I remember because I had my hands up while the Vermont player was shooting free throws [that] their coach was like, ‘Hey ref! You can’t let that Oriental do that!'” Lin recalled. “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 [like,] ‘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 said that he still hears occasional remarks in the NBA, but uses them as a motivator.
“To this day in the NBA, there are still some times where there are still some fans that will say smaller stuff and that is not a big deal,” Lin said. “But that motivates me in a different way.”
Lin’s remarks come at a time when discussion of racist abuse is at the forefront due to Adam Jones’s experience in Boston. It happens more than many of us would care to admit.