Lin–Drama: will we ever learn?

Jeremy Lin - by nikka_la on Flickr

Only a few weeks ago, most of us had never even heard of Jeremy Lin. Now, turn on the television, switch on the computer, or walk by the newsstand, his face is everywhere. Lin-mania, Lin-sanity, or whatever you choose to call it, has taken the nation by storm.

Jeremy Lin has been hailed the fastest-growing athlete brand, worth an estimated $14 million. He is reported to have signed a lucrative Nike endorsement deal and is said to be entertaining offers from hundreds of other companies.

With the dramatic increase in viewer ratings, the Knicks, MSG Network, ABC/ESPN, and the NBA will all benefit from the success of Lin.

Even marketing campaigns have latched onto the nation’s obsession with Lin. Spirit Airlines invited its customers to, “Check Out Our Linsanely Low Fares.”

Unfortunately, not everyone has gained from the basketball star’s meteoric rise. The media created “Lin-mania.” But, the pressure to find new angles and new headlines for stories proved too much for some. Mistakes have been made and reputations damaged.

 An ESPN editor was fired and a news anchor suspended. Radio, television, mobile news websites, and Twitter have all been the sites of potentially offensive (and inexcusable) racial slurs directed at Lin and the Asian American community.

Last week, to prevent further incidents, the Asian American Journalists Association released guidelines for media coverage of Jeremy Lin – sadly, it has no influence over the general public.

Despite all the discussions about racial stereotyping, on Friday, a high school football recruit posted a racially offensive remark, about Lin, on Twitter.

While he may not be bound by the same professional code as journalists, as a future college athlete, his actions will always be under public scrutiny and his behavior will reflect the college he plays for – watch out U. Maryland!

Like so many others, he has been left apologizing for his “unintentional” behavior.

When will we learn to engage our brains, and pause to think about the possible consequences of our words, before pressing “tweet,”  “send,” or “post”?

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One thought on “Lin–Drama: will we ever learn?

  1. Sadly, I am not sure we will ever be in a place where people really say what they mean and mean what they say. Fortunately, those of us who are professional communicators, have an opportunity to really make a difference here. With advice about honesty and transparency and guidance in conflict I think these thing will happen less and less. As professional communicators we have an opportunity to advise people to stop and think before they take action and speak. My hope is that these people really just didn’t think through their thoughts and if they had some one to help them do that, that they would have never mad racist comments.

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