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February 2, 2014 · 5:57 pm

Ignorance is no excuse for slurring Jeremy Lin | By Kevin Alexander Gray

I’m a basketball fan. 

I root for the Chicago Bulls, NY Knicks and Houston Rockets.  In that order.

The only time I don’t pull for the Knicks or Rockets is when they play the Bulls.

Jeremy Lin ~ NY Knick Point Guard

Yet like many, I’m in Jeremy Lin’s corner.

I like Knicks’ guard. I like his game – except the turnovers and his waiting just a tad to late to dish it off in the paint.  Hopefully, he’ll become a better player.

Even so, what I like most about the young athlete is his patience with ignorance.

Facing bigotry isn’t a new thing for the American-born player of Taiwanese descent in the NBA. While playing at Harvard, during a game against Georgetown in Washington, a spectator yelled “Sweet-and-sour pork!” from the stands.  He’s been called “chink” more than once during his college days.

One would hope that attitudes and behavior would change at the professional level.

Then again, one can never underestimate the capacity of  people to be ignorant or stupid. 

In one interview Lin spoke of watching Michael Jordan on TV as a kid and then running outside to his backyard goal to try to duplicate MJ’s shot.  Yet having a black hero isn’t enough to satisfy some.  Boxer Floyd Mayweather tweeted:  “…Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise.”

Some of the bigotry even perplexes Lin:  “People say things like ‘he’s deceptively quick’ or ‘he’s quicker than he looks.’  What does that mean?”  Maybe the answer can be found in  Knicks’ fan and movie director Spike Lee’s tweets describing Lin as:  Jeremy “Kung Fu Hustle” Lin, Jeremy “Crouching Tiger” Lin & Jeremy “Hidden Dragon” Lin.

After a stellar performance from Lin, Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock took to his Twitter to congratulate Lin. “Jeremy Lin is legit!” he tweeted.  Then he followed with a penis joke: “Some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple of inches of pain tonight.” 

There was also the Madison Square Garden (MSG) Network airing a spectator-made poster depicting Lin’s face above a fortune cookie with the slogan “The Knicks Good Fortune.

On the Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange show which runs weekday nights on Cumulus Media’s San Francisco station KNBR 1050, one host urged listeners to call in with the most racist joke about Lin they could think of. He offered a “joke” about “Lin having to do teammate Carmelo Anthony’s laundry as an example of what he was looking for.”

ESPN editor Anthony Federico was fired and anchor Max Bretos (whose wife is Asian) suspended for 30 days when they led a story with the headline — “Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin’s 9 Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-stopping Loss to Hornets.”

Some suggest that “Frederico is 28 years old. Could his ignorance be generational? …50-somethings know that chink is a racial epithet for Asians, we heard it growing up. Would a 20-something know this?”  Perhaps the “consequence of this offense should have been sensitivity training and a second chance?”

Federico said he understands why he was fired. “ESPN did what they had to do.” He said he has used the phrase “at least 100 times” in headlines over the years and thought nothing of it when he slapped it on the Lin story.

A gracious Lin, gave Federico and Bretos a pass: “They’ve apologized, and so from my end, I don’t care anymore.  You have to learn to forgive, and I don’t even think that was intentional.”

Yet the ESPN staffers weren’t the only ones to use the term and Lin in the same sentence. Knicks radio voice Spero Dedes did it too.

On his final call of the Knicks’ loss to the Charlotte Hornets, Dedes said “For the first time in what has been a remarkable two-week run, Jeremy Lin shows a chink in the armor. The Knicks’ seven-game winning streak ends against the Hornets as they fall for the first time since February the 3rd.”

Doubtless, “chink in the armor” is a common phrase.  It means there’s a dent in the armor caused by an imperfection borne in the forging process or a by a sword fight. The chink is the weakest point in the shield.

Chink is also as well-known a slur as “gook.” Some believe it derived from the sound the hammer made when the Chinese workers of the 1800’s, often enslaved and exploited, struck the iron or steel spikes into the railway ties. Others say it is simply a shortened version of Chinese.

California Rep. Judy Chu (D) slammed the ESPN headline, saying she did not believe using the phrase was an innocent mistake: “…if he [Federico] was using it all those times, that is extremely sad. The word was used since the 1880s to demean Chinese Americans and to deprive them of rights, and it is used on playgrounds specifically to humiliate and to offend Asian Americans. So I don’t know where he’s been all this time.”

Some people just can’t seem to get their minds around an Asian-American basketball player who’s got game.

Back in 1997 when a young Tiger Woods was burning up the PGA, FrankFuzzy” Zoeller referred to Woods as “that little boy” and urged him “not to order fried chicken or collard greens for the Champions Dinner next year.”  People could not get their minds around an black golfer who could play the game.

Even so, imagine the outrage if a black athlete was referred to as a “nigger in the woodpile” which – in racist parlance and “the mind’s eye” is analogous to the ESPN headline. What if someone ran a headline: “Special Olympics athlete retarded in efforts to win gold medal”? 

Lin has faced a barrage of mindless ignorance.   In a court of law, pleading ignorance is no excuse.  A good parent will tell their child the same.  They would also add – ignorance in curable. No matter how embedded.  That’s the victory.

(Thanks to Karen, Judith, both Deborah(s), Jane, Karen and other facebook friends who contributed to the discussion on Lin | Note ~ Lin is not the first Asian-American to play professional basketball in the United States or the first Asian-American to play for the Knicks. In 1947, the Knickerbockers drafted Wataru (Wat) Misaka, a 5-foot-7, 150-pound — yes, 5-7, 150 pounds — point guard.)

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Filed under Cultural Essays, Essays, racism, Sports, Uncategorized, white supremacy

BOYCOTT CHAMPION SPORTS APPAREL!

First round draft pick Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers

Proverbs 24:17-18 | “Do not rejoice when your enemies fall, and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble, or else the LORD will see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from them.”

On May 1st, 2011, the announcement was made of the “official” death of Osama bin Laden. This provoked many responses, one being the lawn of the White House covered with 100’s of students chanting U.S.A., and waving flags.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Menendhall tweeted: “What kind of person celebrates death?” It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side…”

After being heaped by scorn he tweeted: “This controversial statement was something I said in response to the amount of joy I saw in the event of a murder. I don’t believe that this is an issue of politics or American pride; but one of religion, morality, and human ethics. During 9/11 we watched in horror as parts of the world celebrated death on our soil. Earlier this week, parts of the world watched us in horror celebrating a man’s death.”

“I want people to understand that I am not in support of Bin Laden, or against the USA…my heart goes out to the troops who fight for our freedoms everyday, not being certain if they will have the opportunity to return home, and the families who watch their loved ones bravely go off to war.”

In a day or two he lost a major endorsement contract with the sports apparel company Champion.

Stand up for FREE SPEECH

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Famous South Carolinians | Kevin Maurice Garnett | By Kevin Alexander Gray

SC Native Plays in Championship Again

Mauldin (Greenville County)

Professional (NBA) basketball player – Power forward

(May 19, 1976)

Kevin Garnett was born in Greenville to Shirley Garnett and O’Lewis McCullough (who his mother never married).  Shirley later married and divorced Ernest Irby. Garnett has two sisters, one older (by six years) one younger: Sonya and Ashley, respectively.  His half-brother, Louis McCullough, played basketball for the ABA’s Syracuse Raging Bullz

Garnett, or “KG” to his fans, is notable for his rise to stardom emerging as a high school pro draftee – first with the Mauldin High School Maverick and, then with the Farragut Career Academy Admiral (named after Civil War naval hero Admiral David Glasgow Farragut) in Chicago – to a star player with the storied Boston Celtics basketball team’s as part of “Big Three” combo of Paul Pierce (forward), and Dalzell, South Carolina native Ray Allen (guard) who in 1993 led the Hillcrest High School Wildcats’ varsity basketball team to a SC State Championship.  Together the three won the 2008 NBA Championship with KG scoring 26 points and 14 rebounds in Game 6 to claim his first title in his first season in Boston.

He joined the Celtics on 07/31/07.  At the time of the trade, he had the longest current tenure of any player in the NBA with one team, having played for the Minnesota Timberwolves for his first 12 seasons (a total of 927 games). Following his trade to the Celtics, Garnett led them to the best record in the league and a trip to the 2008 NBA Finals.  Along the way he picked up the 2008 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award – the only major award a Celtic player had not claimed since the franchise’s foundation in 1946.  And, to top it off, he was the NBA’s top-paid player in the 2007-08 season with a salary of $23,751,934 – along with earning $5 million more hawking Adidas, Snickers and Gatorade.

Garnett credits his mother, a Jehovah’s Witness, for being his career “inspiration,” and for his familial stability growing up in both the mostly black section of Greenville known as Nickeltown and later on Basswood Drive in Mauldin (a suburb of Greenville with a population of about 12,000 in western SC).  Shirley Garnett looked after Sonya, Kevin, and Ashley on her own while working two jobs – one at a local plant and another as a hair stylist.  McCullough married another woman, started a new family, and paid child support. Continue reading

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Norman Brown’s Summer Storm | Tribute To Wayman Tisdale

Wayman Tisdale

Wayman Tisdale

On May 15, 2009, former collegiate/NBA All-Star and bass guitarist extraordinaire WAYMAN TISDALE succumbed to his battle with cancer.  With the disease thought to be in submission, Wayman was booked to make an appearance in Atlanta with his longtime partner and fellow musician Norman Brown

This date was set for cancellation but Norman, and Michael Alexander of J.A.M.S. Promotions wanted to honor their friend in music.  And so, on Saturday, August 22, at 7 p.m., we hope you can show your love for Norman Brown’s Summer Storm – Tribute To Wayman Tisdale. Participating in the festivities are an array of today’s finest smooth jazz artists who previously toured with Wayman including saxophonists Euge Groove and Eric Darius; keyboardists Brian Simpson and Gail Johnson, and a surprise special guest.  The open-air event will take place at the lovely Mablehouse-Barnes Amphitheatre in Atlanta.  Tickets are available online at www.ticketmaster.com, at their many locations, or by calling 404-249-6400

Summer Storm Atlanta

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Dave Zirin on Michael Vick

The Nation

The Reality of Vick’s Return

By DAVE ZIRIN

July 28, 2009

Michael Vick | AP Images

Michael Vick | AP Images

Michael Vick has been reinstated by the National Football League. But there’s no guarantee that he will ever see the field.

“I urge you to take full advantage of the resources available to support you and to dedicate yourself to rebuilding your life and your career. If you do this, the NFL will support you,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

“Opportunities for redemption are rare–but that is exactly the opportunity that awaits Mr. Vick,” chimed in Ed Sayres, president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Both men, in their way, were attempting to put the best possible spin on Vick’s return to the NFL. After serving twenty-three months in federal prison at Leavenworth for running a dogfighting ring –an ironic sentence considering the fact that a warmonger like Dick Cheney still roams free–Vick can now sign with an NFL team after a suspension that can last as long as six games.

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“We are the ones to blame” | Cuba National Baseball Team’s loss in 2009 World Baseball Classic

Reflections of Comrade Fidel

Fidel Castro Ruz
March 19, 2009

[Cuba had reached the final of the last 50 tournaments in which it has played, dating back five decades, according to baseball historian Peter C. Bjarkman. But after the March 18, 2009  5-0 loss to Japan, Cuba was eliminated from the World Baseball Classic in the second round, its earliest exit since the 1959 Pan American Games.]

Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro

In the game that finished today at almost 3 in the morning between the teams from Japan and Cuba, we were unquestionably defeated.

The organizers of the Classic decided that the three countries in the first three spots of world baseball shall play it out in San Diego, including Cuba arbitrarily in the Asian group despite the fact that we are definitely in the Caribbean.

However, I doubt that any team from the West can defeat Japan and Korea in the group of competitors who will be playing in Los Angeles in the next three days.  Only one of the two Asian countries with its quality shall decide who will take the first and second spots in the Classic.

What was important for the organizers was to eliminate Cuba, a revolutionary country that has heroically resisted and has not been able to be defeated in the battle of ideas.  Nevertheless, one day we shall again be a dominant power in that sport.

The excellent team representing us in the Classic, made up mostly of young athletes, is without a doubt a genuine representation of the best athletes in our country.

They competed with great courage; they didn’t lose heart and they aimed for victory right up to the last inning.

The line-up, suggested from Cuba by the management and their expert advisors, was good and inspired confidence.  It was strong both offensively and defensively.  They had a good reserve of pitching talent and strong hitters, in case the changing circumstances of a game would require it.   By applying the same concepts, they won and dominated the powerful Mexican team.

2009 Cuban National Baseball Team

2009 Cuban National Baseball Team

I should point out that the leadership of the team in San Diego was very poor.  The old criteria of timeworn methods prevailed, against a capable adversary who constantly innovated.

We must learn the relevant lessons.

Baseball today, among all the sports, is the most capable of originating expectations because of the enormous variety of situations that might arise and the specific part played by each of the men on the diamond.  It has a reputation everywhere as a truly exciting show.  Even though the stadiums fill up with fans, there is nothing that compares to the pictures captured by the cameras.  It seems to have been created so that baseball can be transmitted by that media.

Television heightens interest by going into great detail about every action.  It even offers the possibility of seeing the stitching and the rotation of a ball thrown at 100 miles an hour, a ball rolling along a white line or it being caught in the glove of a defender one tenth of a second before or after the runner’s foot touches base. I can think of no other sport which can compete with that variety of situations, except chess, where the activity ceases to be muscular and becomes an intellectual one, something impossible to televise.

In Cuba, where we practice almost all sports and where we have numerous amateur players, baseball has become a national passion.

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