A group of Jeremy Lin fans are wondering why the Hornets point guard seems to be getting ignored by referees when opponents commit hard fouls against him. They have compiled the video below, in which you can see a number of plays on which Lin was hammered, only to have the referees call a standard foul when a flagrant would have been appropriate, or ignore the foul altogether.
It’s something that Lin himself has noticed, and this is what he had to say when he was shown the video above (turn up your volume):
Race is never explicitly mentioned in the video, and Lin didn’t bring it up in his comments, but the implication is pretty clear: Lin doesn’t get treated fairly by referees because he is Asian.
Statistics don’t really tell us much. According to NBA.com, Lin drives to the basket 6.7 times per game and attempts 1.6 free-throws per game on those plays. That puts him right in the middle of the pack among players who drive more than five times per game, which suggests that he gets the same foul calls everyone else is getting.
But the video’s beef is less with foul calls in general and more with the fact that Lin isn’t being protected from excessively hard fouls. This is trickier to sort out, as there is no database that tracks how many flagrant fouls a player has drawn in his career, but there are enough examples in that video to at least raise an eyebrow. It’s also telling that Lin, who sometimes still gets hassled by security guards who don’t think he’s a player, addressed the issue publicly. Fan complaints are one thing, but if a player truly believes he is being treated unfairly by referees because of his race, it’s probably something the NBA should look into.