It was at the end of last season that a Bay Area fan put together a six-minute video suggesting that NBA referees had a double standard when it came to hard fouls against Jeremy Lin. Lin, it suggested, was a victim. He wasn't getting the calls. To many, it was a compelling case study. The video was immediately controversial, with one million views within days. It's nearing two million now.
As Andrew Keh of the Times wrote last April of the fan, Hsiu-Chen Kuei.
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 victim of excessive physicality from opponents and insufficient protection from the league and its referees.
The racial overtones were too obvious to dismiss, although no one suggested it directly. Lin himself, ever the diplomat, said, ""I’m just psyched that the fans are trying to do something about it and trying to push the league to at least review some of the stuff."
As the video's popularity grew, Kuei and other fans drafted a letter to Adam Silver, asking for redress. The league dismissed the video's argument in a statement.
"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 read.
Afterwards, other theories abounded. On ESPN, the Suns' Jared Dudley suggested that many of the hard fouls were committed by NBA stars who often get a pass on flagrants. He also noted how often Lin, who he described as a "tough kid," would jump up. Better he lie there for a while, do some acting. Skip Bayless called the lack of fouls "outrageous," and noted that Lin has been fouled 813 times since 2013 but none of them have been flagrant Not one.
Now, Lin again plays in New York, with the attendant media spotlight. Will there be further investigations by fans ... or the media? And more importantly, will he finally get calls? Will he "act" more and better, as Dudley suggested. Or will refs recall the video and its argument ... and those 813 fouls without a flagrant.
Stay tuned ... Lin's fans will.