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Lin-Sanity vs King James Decision, The media bias reigns supreme

2016/7/27 15:39:06

Just as quickly as it came, Linsanity fever in New York is done. After much speculation and rumors, the New York Knicks have decided not to match the Houston Rockets' three-year $25.1 million deal that was offered to the point guard so Lin has packed his bags. The hype surrounding the Knicks decision seemed almost déjà vu, eerily similar to LeBron James and ‘The Decision.' Similar but different at the same time.

After being cut from the Rockets and the Golden State Warriors, the Knicks picked up the undrafted Lin and sat him on the bench. By the time February rolled around, the team was plagued by injuries and lost their superstar one-two punch of Carmelo Anthony and A'mare Stoudemire. Head coach Mike D'Antoni had little choice but play Lin who was riding the pine into obscurity.

Lin razzled and dazzled opposing teams, mainly because no one knew who he was and there were no scouting reports on the Harvard graduate. The point guard led the Knicks on a six-game winning streak. Soon his game was picked apart and his weaknesses were exposed but it was too late; the fans (not me) and the media (again, not me) fell in love with Lin. The term ‘Linsanity' was born. As was ‘Linderella,' ‘Do you believe Lin magic' and a whole slew of ‘Lin-isms.' He graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and Time magazines. Lin suffered a season-ending knee injury but that did little to squelch the Linsanity fever.

As the playoff season ended and a new king was crowned, speculation grew on whether the Knicks would re-sign Lin. The Knicks weren't the only team interested in the point guard. Houston, which has a large Asian population, wanted Lin and offered him a lucrative contract; extremely lucrative since Lin only played 25 games the entire season. The Knicks were faced with a tough decision that was made even tougher when the Rockets upped the ante, revised the contract and made it even more lucrative.

The speculation grew and grew, coming remarkably close to the frenzy that was created two years ago when LeBron James became a free agent and several NBA teams wooed him. But Lin is no James. Or, I should say, James is no Lin.

As with almost everything in this country, what it really comes down to is race. Because James is a Black man, he was vilified in the media, labeled ‘arrogant' and ‘conceited' when he packed his backs and headed to South Beach. Even though James spent seven years in Cleveland and helped the Cavs win two Central Division championships and one Eastern Conference championship, he was crucified in the media for doing what any good businessman would do: explore all options and make the best decision for him and his family. Number 23 Cavalier jerseys were burned, the Nike ‘Witness' mural featuring James was taken down, even Cavs owner Dan Gilbert called James' decision an act of ‘cowardly betrayal.'

In a matter of months, James went from being the NBA's most beloved star to the most hated but what exactly did he do wrong? What other athletes, when reaching the end of their contracts, decided to part ways with the team that they spent a large portion of their careers with and were vilified in the media?

Quarterback Brett Farve left the Green Bay Packers after 15 seasons and he didn't receive the amount of hatred James did. Future Hall of Famer Andy Pettitte left the New York Yankees after eight years and headed to Houston (of course), even taking fellow pitcher Roger Clemens with him. Lin hasn't felt even an ounce of the vitriol James faced even though his sense of loyalty should be called into question for abandoning the one team that gave him his last shot.

Time and time again, history has shown us that Black athletes who speak up and are opinionated or do not toe the line are vilified in the media. Terrell Owens. Chad Ochocinco. Keyshawn Johnson. The list goes on and on. LeBron James didn't break a law or was busted with hookers. After seven years of trying to bring a championship to Cleveland, he moved on to a team that had all the pieces in place to win. Yet he was one of the most despised people in the country. After 25 games, Lin is packing it up and moving on to Houston instead of showing an ounce of loyalty to the one team that gave him a shot and could've matched the initial offer, which is still too much for the inexperienced point guard. Lin is labeled a shrewd businessman for striking while the iron is hot but LeBron? Another uppity Negro that didn't know his place.

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