Jeremy Lin said a fellow G League player called him coronavirus on the court.
Lin also showed perspective and compassion, realized calls for punishing that player had quickly turned extreme, and refused to publicly shame him.
That’s why the G League – after identifying the player – is handling the matter internally.
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
After an investigation, the NBA G League identified the player who said “coronavirus” toward Jeremy Lin during a game and is handling the matter internally with Lin’s support, @TheAthletic @Stadium has learned. Statement from a G League spokesperson: pic.twitter.com/YaDf6CzjcA
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 12, 2021
The wording of this report – “said ‘coronavirus’ toward” – makes me wonder whether the player denied calling Lin coronavirus. Perhaps, the player said “coronavirus” as part of some trash talk.
Either way, there is no version of trash talk toward Lin using the word “coronavirus” that is acceptable.
Trash talk within professional basketball sometimes crosses the lines of polite society. There has been a code of keeping what’s said on the court on the court, fueled by a shared understanding that even personal attacks are often meant to challenge a player’s focus on basketball then be forgotten after the game.
That doesn’t at all excuse what the player said to Lin. But the combination of rapidly changing standards and increased desire for overly harsh punishment is a powerful force.
Lin showed restraint by not publicly naming the player, noting that piling on the player wouldn’t solve the issues facing Asian Americans. Though there are significant limitations in hate-crime statistics, any violence and harassment against Asian Americans based on their ethnicity should be combatted.
Hopefully, the player – and everyone following this incident – learns from it as Lin hoped.