Former NBA star Jeremy Lin has claimed he was called “coronavirus” during a game after taking to social media to lash out about the treatment of Asian Americans.
A Taiwanese-American currently playing in the NBA’s G-League with the Santa Cruz Warriors, posted a quote after he spoke about the spike in Asian hate crimes.
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CNN reported NYPD data that “there were 29 reported racially-motivated crimes against people of Asian descent in 2020 in New York City, and 24 of those were attributed to ‘coronavirus motivation’,” up from three in 2019.
While the report adds that it’s not just New York that there is an issue, Lin expanded on his comments on Instagram.
He said: “I want better for my elders who worked so hard and sacrificed so much to make a life for themselves here. I want better for my niece and nephew and future kids. I want better for the next generation of Asian American athletes than to have to work so hard to just be ‘deceptively athletic’.
“Being an Asian American doesn’t mean we don’t experience poverty and racism.
“Being a 9 year NBA veteran doesn’t protect me from being called “coronavirus” on the court.
“Being a man of faith doesn’t mean I don’t fight for justice, for myself and for others.”
A G-League spokesperson confirmed to the New York Times that an investigation was being opened into the claims.
Lin was the first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent when he broke into the Warriors organisation in 2010.
While social media was soon flooded with support for the 2019 NBA champion with the Toronto Raptors, one of eight NBA clubs he played with throughout his nine-year NBA career, the strongest support came from Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr.
An outspoken critic of former US president Donald Trump, Kerr took aim at the alleged slur.
“It’s just so ridiculous and obviously spawned by many people, including our former president, as it relates to the coronavirus originating in China. It’s just shocking,” he said.
“I can’t wrap my head around any of it, but I can’t wrap my head around racism in general. We’re all just flesh and blood. We’re all just people. As Pop once said to me, we’re all accidents of birth. We’re born. We come out the way we are. We don’t have a say in it.”
“What we do have a say in is how we treat people. It’s shocking to me that we can treat each other so poorly based on the colour of skin or whatever it is. So I applaud Jeremy for speaking up.”