Posts Tagged NBA

Defending the Worm? Why we shouldn’t beat up Dennis Rodman too much

An old pair of Dennis Rodman Converse high-tops, the ones emblazoned with that weird sun shape, are somewhere in my Smithsonian called a garage.

I didn’t have Jordans. I had a pair of Rodmans.  So you know, I have a passing appreciation for the style and basketball ability of the old Rodman.

That was the Rodman of the NBA. Not the UN.

Known as “The Worm,” Rodman was valued as a tough guy defender and rebounder. That’s all.  He didn’t score points. Wasn’t his job.

That’s the way we should see him in his role as Diplomat Dennis.

The guy’s  no Madeleine Albright.

And after his history making trip to North Korea, he’s certainly not scoring points for himself, or Kim Jong Un for that matter.

But he’s grabbed the media’s attention, and in doing so, he’s created the chance for us all to see what truth, if any, we can glean.

So much isn’t known about North Korea in the U.S., we can hardly stand it when even an aging pop/sports star gets a glimpse behind the curtain. No one gets that kind of access to the country or its leadership. With or without a jockstrap.

That’s why blasting Rodman for not knowing the contents of your standard CIA dossier or for his inability to recite the human rights violations of the North Korean government, just seems—to mix sports metaphors—like piling on.

It would be better to just ask him without judgment all that he saw. Dennis’ world is part fantasy, after all. I mean, the guy did date Madonna.

Instead of berating him for his ignorance of the evil of North Korea, because of his unique trip, we should be happy getting his different look of a country that’s generally under cover.

And then, most certainly, juxtapose it with what we know of the ongoing misery of a starving nation, and the refugee situation along the China border. Rodman doesn’t refute that. Rodman was never known for his articulation.  Just by going there, he accents the contradictions in North Korea.

Remember Rodman was never the scorer. Just the rebounder. Kim Jong Un may be using Rodman. But this odd pairing, only puts the issues of the North Korean people back on the mainstream radar, where North Korea seems to come into focus only when it lets out a little steam with a nuclear test.

Now, thanks to Rodman, it’s time for the human rights activists and the North Korea specialists to make their points and score.

The Worm has done his job.

Remember, he’s no Madeleine Albright.

 

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Amok on Lin: Why ESPN’s tough action matters

The New York Daily News reports that the fired writer responsible for that racist ESPN headline is apologetic and never intended a slur.
The writer,28 and clueless, readily admits to using the cliche “chink in the armor” so many times in the past that it never occurred to him it could be racist. Yeah, but he probably was never using the phrase in conjunction with an American born Chinese person.
I feel sorry for anyone fired or suspended by ESPN. But Jeremy Lin represents a sea change in how we look and refer to Asian Americans in sports.
ESPN’s zero tolerance has to be applauded. It noticed it was guilty of a double standard when it comes to Asian Americans and owned up to it in a strong and definitive way.
For example, yesterday in the NBA, Kevin Durant went for 51. Would the ESPN writer make a crack about celebrating that feat with a nice cold watermelon?
Of course not.
Now the ESPN style book will let people know how to relate to Asian Americans.
Let’s hope the shock jocks and comedians who continue to use tired Asian stereotypes as humor crutches get the message too. When they keep doing it, audiences think it’s OK to slur. Just like the clueless writer at ESPN. That’s how slurs keep their currency. But the times have changed.
And it took Jeremy Lin to make the point.

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Linsanity’s chill: ESPN fires, suspends employees for Lin headline

After hearing from Asian Americans around the country, ESPN took action and fired the writer responsible for the “chink in the armor’ headline. And it suspended an anchor for using the same tired cliche.
That’s both good and bad.
Good, in that it punishes the perps. Bad, in that it should send a chill through the ranks of wordsmiths in journalism.
I take no joy in seeing someone lose their job. Indeed, I think a public apology on all ESPN shows would have been sufficient.
The problem with firing is that the mesage to ESPN workers sounds more like censorship than a corrective action.
We’re fighting racism, not free speech.
And yet, what happened when we were free to talk about Lin?
People started ching-chonging and using racist language because they don’t really know how to be clever or smart about Lin without resorting to race.
It shows how ignorant and how limited people are about Asian Americans.
When Lebron or Kobe have a great game, no one breaks out the fried chicken and watermelon jokes. Everyone knows that’s racist. For Asian Americans, no one seems to care. Maybe now they will.
I’m sure ESPN didn’t want to be a buzzkill and spoil the party. But by taking an extreme zero tolerance stand against slurs, it shows it means business.
Lin’s performance today helping the Knicks beat the defending champion Dallas Mavericks means Linsanity has legs.
Maybe now we can all celebrate it without a lapse into racism.

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ESPN reaches limit of Linsanity; No excuse for racist headline

We were all having so much fun, too. Doesn’t mean it’s time to break out the racism.

I was wondering when someone would use a “Chink in the Armor” reference.

I’m sure many Asian Americans thought about it before ESPN did.  But only the most screwed up Asian American self-hater would use it in public to describe the basketball flaws of Jeremy Lin.

It’s not so bad if we were all living in Medieval America and people  actually bought their chain maille and armor from Barney’s  and Macy’s.  Then, hey, sure, it might be OK. When you get a ding in your metal suit, that’s a drag. We all can relate.

But the dark ages are gone. We live in a diverse America, and when you say “Chink,” you are not bringing the love. Nor are you talking about the flaws of Sir Lancelot, real or imagined. Besides, you play basketball in your underwear.

Still, if someone likened Lin’s ball-handling to Lancelot trying a crossover move in full armor, you might make a case for “plausible deniability.”

At least in a metaphorical sense.

But let’s face it.

The ESPN headline was not poetry. We all know what someone means when they say “Chink” in reference to Jeremy Lin.

The media, in this case the headline writers at ESPN,  have been so giddy with Linsanity, they must have thought it gave everyone the green light to have some racist fun.

Editors surely would have taken more care before blurting the “N” word.  But evidently  not the “C” word.

The good fun of Linsanity is intended to make people realize how inclusive the world has become.

It’s not intended to desensitize us all to the racist sentiments of the past.

ESPN has apologized for the slur, but that isn’t enough.

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund is calling for full apologies on ESPN cablecasts.  The network needs to set the record straight for all to hear, lest anyone get the idea that Linsanity is a good excuse to turn racist.

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