Sat, Apr 16, 2016 - Page 18 News List

Fans complain over Lin treatment

NY Times News Service

Charlotte Hornets point guard Jeremy Lin, left, falls to the floor after colliding with Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics during their game in Boston on Monday.

Photo: AP

Kuei Hsiu-chen waited until her husband and three sons had gone to bed one night before surreptitiously beginning work on an ambitious personal project.

As they slept, Kuei, 48, a stay-at-home mother from San Jose, California, hunkered down at her computer and began poring over highlight videos featuring Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lin, her favorite NBA player. She fumbled around on Final Cut Pro, a video-editing program, splicing together the specific clips she had sought. She did this for six straight nights, three hours each night.

On April 5, Kuei uploaded her finished product, a 6.5-minute video, to YouTube. She called it: Jeremy Lin: Too Flagrant Not to Call.

Piecing together clips of Lin being whacked in the face, clotheslined, bleeding, tumbling to the floor — all without ever drawing a flagrant foul — Kuei tried to convey that Lin, an American-born son of immigrants from Taiwan, was the target of excessive physicality from opponents and insufficient protection from the league and its referees.

To Kuei’s surprise, the video attracted close to 1 million views, capturing the attention of basketball fans around the world and the eye of the league. As of yesterday, it had more than 1.06 million views. With its bruising simplicity, it revived questions about the fairness and consistency of officiating in the NBA and led to conversations about latent racial biases. With its far-flung reach, it reiterated the power of social media in the contemporary sports landscape.

“I’m just happy that people are noticing this,” Kuei said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “It’s not about views. I didn’t get money or anything. I didn’t want attention. I just want Lin to get fair calls.”

Kuei’s original clip had more than 1,000 comments through Thursday morning. A version of the video with Chinese subtitles had more than 750,000 views on YouTube. Threads on online messages boards, like Reddit, engendered fevered discussion and debate.

The video kept spreading. Media outlets in Taiwan and Hong Kong, where Lin has many fans, ran stories on it this week. Though it seems not yet to have attracted the attention of the news media in China, fans on social media there have taken notice: A copy of the video has spread on microblogging services.

To accompany the video, Kuei recruited two online acquaintances from Lin-centric message boards to help draft a letter to send to the NBA. She then encouraged fans — some of whom she understood might not be comfortable writing in English — to copy the letter and send it to the league as well.

“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,” the letter reads. “In these cases, the referees either didn’t make the calls or made incorrect calls.”

The NBA responded with a statement. It was a notable victory — a grassroots, fan-led project receiving acknowledgment from a major sports league — but the NBA stood by the handling of all the plays highlighted in the video. Fans who wrote to the league received a letter encouraging them to read the rules that categorized fouls. A similar statement was forwarded to media outlets seeking comment.

“While some of the plays in the video involved hard contact, none was subsequently deemed a flagrant foul given the full circumstances, angles and comparables from past games,” the statement reads.

This story has been viewed 1701 times.

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