New York Post
‘Do’ the right thing
Lin responds to former Net K-Mart's diss of his new dreads with plea for tolerance
After former Net Kenyon Martin touched off a firestorm by ripping Jeremy Lin’s dreadlocks and coarsely accusing him of cultural appropriation, Lin’s response wasn’t shade, but a heartfelt and eloquent request for unity and tolerance.
After Lin led the Nets to a 107-88 preseason win over the Heat, he was asked by The Post if he had any message for the fans — who have been wildly debating the interaction between Lin and Martin on social media.
“I’d say first I hope that a lot of Asian fans don’t go on his page and say racist things to him,” Lin said. “That’s not the right way to go about it. In a lot of ways to pit us against each other — I won versus Kenyon Martin winning — I don’t think that’s the right way to go about it. It’s not really about winning or losing. The whole point is we’re trying to be unified.
“So I feel like even when some people come at me like ‘Man, you embarrassed him.’ It’s like dude, that’s not what it’s about. That’s not the whole point of this discussion is to pit us into two sides and see who wins. The whole point is we all have to get on the same page. We need to have people stop going on his page saying racist things to him, too. That’s not OK.”
The outspoken Martin, who played for the Nets from 2000-04, posted a YouTube video Wednesday lambasting Lin’s new dreadlocks as appropriating black culture.
“Do I need to remind this damn boy that his last name is Lin? Like, come on man. Let’s stop this man, with these people,” Martin said. “Like, there’s no way possible he would’ve made it on one of our teams with that bulls--t going on on his head.
“Come on, man. Somebody really need to tell him, like, ‘All right bro, we get it; you want to be black.’ Like, we get it. But the last name is Lin, all right?”
Lin, who had a team-high 16 points and four assists Thursday, took the high road.
“At the end of the day … we need to spend a little more time thinking about what it’d be like to be somebody else,” Lin said. “He said what he said but I’m not really that offended. If that’s how he thinks, that’s how he thinks. But my job is to be gracious, loving and if I can just share with him a little of my side I think the next time maybe he’ll have a different viewpoint.
“He might have a different viewpoint in a week, but not if my whole fan base comes and starts calling him — I didn’t see it, but I heard people were saying the N-word on his page. That’s not what I stand for at all, and that’s not helping us move in the direction we want to move in. I think both sides need to come together.
“As minorities if we’re able to appreciate [each other], if Asians would be passionate about issues that aren’t just related to Asians, if AfricanAmericans are able to be passionate about issues that aren’t just related to AfricanAmericans, I think we’ll start to see something big happen and we’ll be able to influence mainstream society. I think that’s the ultimate goal. But all this pitting me against him, or anything that creates that division, I don’t really stand for.”
Martin has had Chinese script tattoos for years. But that didn’t stop him from doubling down on Instagram on Wednesday afternoon.
“I see I done ruffled a few of y’all feathers. Good. Take y’all comments to the bank and see what they give y’all for ’em. That’s what I think about them, first and foremost,” he said. “But that man grown. That man can rock whatever hairstyle he want to rock. That don’t mean I have to agree with it. … Second of all, I’m grown; I can say whatever I want to say about whatever I want to say it about. It ain’t about race, it ain’t about none of that. Grow up people. It was a joke. But I don’t like it, I don’t agree with it.”