With Tim Tebow and the NFL season out of the picture, Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks is the latest media darling in professional sports.
The Asian-American point guard from Harvard torched the Los Angeles Lakers Friday night, scoring 38 points in a 92-85 victory at Madison Square Garden.
In response to Lin’s great performance, FoxSports.com columnist Jason Whitlock tweeted, “Some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple of inches of pain tonight.”
Whitlock’s tweet caught the attention of the Asian American Journalists Association, who wrote the following on their Facebook page Saturday night:
Let’s start by saying that your tweet in the midst of the Jeremy Lin hoopla was inappropriate on so many levels. Certainly, it doesn’t hold up to the conduct of responsible journalists, those in sports or otherwise, who adhere to standards of fairness, civility and good taste. Nor does it meet the standards of Fox Sports, with which you are associated.
Outrage doesn’t begin to describe the reaction of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) to your unnecessary and demeaning tweet of Feb. 10 after the New York Knicks played the Los Angeles Lakers: “Some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple of inches of pain tonight.”
Let’s not pretend we don’t know to what you were referring. The attempt at humor – and we hope that is all it was – fell flat. It also exposed how some media companies fail to adequately monitor the antics of their high-profile representatives. Standards need to be applied – by you and by Fox Sports.
The offensive tweet debased one of sports’ feel-good moments, not just among Asian Americans but for so many others who are part of your audience.
Where do we go from here? How about an apology, Mr. Whitlock.
The AAJA surprisingly didn’t have to wait long for that apology from Whitlock, who posted the following on FoxSports.com Sunday:
I get Linsanity. I’ve cried watching Tiger Woods win a major golf championship. Jeremy Lin, for now, is the Tiger Woods of the NBA. I suspect Lin makes Asian Americans feel the way I feel when I watch Tiger play golf.
I should’ve realized that Friday night when I watched Lin torch the Lakers. For Asian Americans and a lot of sports fans, his nationally televised 38-point outburst was the equivalent of Tiger’s first victory in The Masters. I got caught up in the excitement. I tweeted about what a great story Lin is and how he could rival Tim Tebow.
I then gave in to another part of my personality — my immature, sophomoric, comedic nature. It’s been with me since birth, a gift from my mother and honed as a child listening to my godmother’s Richard Pryor albums. I still want to be a standup comedian.
The couple-inches-of-pain tweet overshadowed my sincere celebration of Lin’s performance and the irony that the stereotype applies to pot-bellied, overweight male sports writers, too. As the Asian American Journalist Association pointed out, I debased a feel-good sports moment. For that, I’m truly sorry.
Whitlock dodged a bullet considering the flack and punishment CNN pundit Roland Martin received for his offensive tweet last Sunday.
Think before you tweet, people.