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The NBA G League said Friday it was investigating a report by Jeremy Lin, one of the most famous Asian-American basketball players, that he was labeled a “coronavirus” on the court.
Lin revealed the arch in a Facebook post Thursday denouncing racism and discrimination against Americans from Asia. It was a prominent example of the rising tide of bigotry that many Asian Americans have endured since last year when former President Donald J. Trump began referring to the coronavirus as the “China virus.”
“Being an Asian American doesn’t mean we don’t experience poverty and racism,” wrote Lin, who plays for the Golden State Warriors’ subsidiary in the G League, the NBA’s development league. “Being a 9 year old NBA veteran doesn’t protect me from being labeled a ‘coronavirus’ on the pitch. To be a man of faith does not mean that I am not fighting for justice, for myself and for others. “
A league spokesman confirmed that an investigation had been opened but declined to comment. The investigation was first reported by The Athletic.
The investigation came amid an increase in attacks against Americans from Asia, according to the government. The number of hate crimes involving Asian-American victims reported to the New York Police Department rose from just three in 2019 to 28 in 2020. Activists and law enforcement officials said many other incidents have not been classified as hate crimes or have not been formally reported were .
In August, a United Nations report found that racist violence and other incidents against Americans from Asia had reached “alarming levels” since the virus broke out in the United States. According to the report, more than 1,800 racist incidents against Asian American citizens were reported in the United States over an eight-week period from March 2020 to May 2020.
The incidents involved people who said they had been spat at, banned from public transport, discriminated against, avoided, beaten, stabbed and insulted in the workplace by being labeled as broadcasters of the coronavirus.
Taiwanese-American Lin has spoken openly about the discrimination and questioning he has faced in professional basketball. He has also proudly accepted his status as a role model and inspiration for many Asian Americans.
A retired Harvard basketball player, Lin became a breakout sensation in the 2011-12 NBA season when, as an unknown relative on the bench, he took guard for the Knicks and broke the league, creating a wave of excitement known as ” Linsanity “. In his first five starts, he scored more points than any other player in nearly 40 years, peaking at 38 against the Los Angeles Lakers.
In his Facebook post on Thursday, 32-year-old Lin pointed to a generation change among Americans in Asia.
“We’re tired of being told that we don’t experience racism. We’re tired of keeping our heads down and not causing problems,” he wrote. “We’re fed up with Asian American kids growing up asking where they’re REALLY from, having our eyes mocked, being objectified as exotic, or being told we’re naturally unattractive.”
“I want something better for my elders, who worked so hard and sacrificed so much to make a life here,” he added. “I want better for my niece and nephew and future children.”
Shauntel Lowe contributed to this report.