Yao Ming was the first Chinese basketball player to hit the NBA and he encountered a lot of racism – both subtle and blatant – during his first year in the League in 2002. Not long after Yao started playing for the Houston Rockets, Shaquille O’Neal had this to say:
It didn’t take long for the media to roast O’Neal for his stupid racist remarks and this followed shortly (good thing social networks were not as powerful back then):
Shaq’s Apology Not Good Enough
Emil Guillermo, Special to SF Gate
>Published 4:00 am, Tuesday, January 14, 2003
And yet, today, Lott has been thoroughly ridiculed and stripped of power, while O’Neal remains playing above the rim, a beloved multimillionaire sports celebrity.
Why can a famous black person get away with saying something a famous white person could never say?
The double standard must have Lott practicing his foul shots.
You can read the rest of this too-little-too-late apology story from SFGate by clicking HERE.
Interestingly, Yao Ming was just inducted into Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame recently alongside of none other than Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson.
But even with all the publicity following O’Neal’s ignorance, that racism still seems to be there in albeit subtler ways as applied to newer – but still rare – Chinese players like Jeremy Lin. Another YouTube video recently went viral after Lin and his fans tried to point out this subtle racism on the part of game officials who then immediately tried to do a PR spin by “reviewing” penalties against Lin for rough play when compared to violations against him. Of course, the officials found no impropriety in their rulings after a short review. But they forgot that Lin was an Economics Major at Harvard and had a clear understanding of how data analysis (sometimes called facts) can make a solid argument. Which led to that video which is now climbing towards 2 million hits already:
So what do you think? Are Jeremy Lin and his fans being oversensitive or do the facts speak for themselves? Is racism towards Asians still pervasive in professional in American sports? You decide. Check out the video. And maybe post a comment below.