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Frequency of Hard Fouls on Jeremy Lin Raise Suspicion of Racial Bias Among NBA Officials

“It's disheartening to see Lin's mistreatment by the NBA referees.”

A video posted to YouTube on April 5th shows how often, and how hard, Jeremy Lin gets fouled by opposing players. Despite this, referees rarely, if ever, call any flagrant fouls, and the maker of the video, JAD 7534, suspects that racial bias is connected to the chronic no-calls.


Along with the video, JAD posted a lengthy plea to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver saying, “As fans of the NBA and its players, we care deeply about the quality and integrity of the game and the safety of the players… When we see dubious officiating by the NBA referees, we cannot help but question the integrity of the game at its very core.”

He goes on to point out that Lin is one of the few active Asian players in the NBA, and suggests that his race may be a part of the seemingly unfair officiating. “Throughout Lin's six years in the NBA, we have continuously witnessed Lin as the recipient of numerous hard fouls with unnecessary and excessive force by other players. In these cases, the referees either didn't make the calls or made incorrect calls.” JAD ends his letter by beseeching the Association to review Lin’s treatment by officials, “It's disheartening to see Lin's mistreatment by the NBA referees. As fans, we ask you to please review this matter seriously and to take action.”

Racial bias has historically proven to be a problem in the league. A 2007 study from the University of Pennsylvania found that white referees called fouls against black players much more often than they did against white players. That was six years ago, and the study did not speak to treatment of Asian players. And while a more recent paper has not been published about racial bias among officials, it’s a fact that Jeremy Lin gets roughed up on the court. A lot. He gets smacked in the face, shoved around and clotheslined by opposing players. And not much is done about it.

Announcers in the video can be heard remarking on how frequently Lin endures abuse on the court, so the professionals paid to know what’s going on clearly see a trend. And so do fans.

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