Did Jason Whitlock read my post in response to his tweet alluding to Jeremy Lin’s penis? Probably not. However, the apology he threw together that was posted on FoxSports.com was based partly on an element that came to my mind when I attempted to figure out why he’d post a “joke” of that nature in a public forum.
For those who don’t remember the situation or didn’t hear about it over the weekend, here’s the tweet in question, written after Lin went off against the Los Angeles Lakers on ESPN:
The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) demanded an apology from Whitlock, and they got one (emphasis mine):
I get Linsanity. I’ve cried watching Tiger Woods win a major golf championship. Jeremy Lin, for now, is the Tiger Woods of the NBA. I suspect Lin makes Asian Americans feel the way I feel when I watch Tiger play golf.
I should’ve realized that Friday night when I watched Lin torch the Lakers. For Asian Americans and a lot of sports fans, his nationally televised 38-point outburst was the equivalent of Tiger’s first victory in The Masters. I got caught up in the excitement. I tweeted about what a great story Lin is and how he could rival Tim Tebow.
I then gave in to another part of my personality — my immature, sophomoric, comedic nature. It’s been with me since birth, a gift from my mother and honed as a child listening to my godmother’s Richard Pryor albums. I still want to be a standup comedian.
The couple-inches-of-pain tweet overshadowed my sincere celebration of Lin’s performance and the irony that the stereotype applies to pot-bellied, overweight male sports writers, too. As the Asian American Journalist Association pointed out, I debased a feel-good sports moment. For that, I’m truly sorry.
Well, it’s an “apology.” It’s not an apology for making a derogatory, racist comment that offended not only Lin (who has stayed quiet on the subject), but many others, particularly the group of people he was throwing under the “couple inches” umbrella. But Whitlock said “I’m sorry,” and in the United States of Apology that’s what the masses generally demand.
For a guy like Whitlock who’s based his career on such things, it’s interesting that not a single version of the word “race” was used in his mea culpa. No mention of race, racial, racially, racist, race-baiting, race-based … nothing. Instead, Whitlock’s a wannabe standup comedian who feels remorse over ruining a “feel-good sports moment.”
Oh, the tragedy. Due to Whitlock’s joke, nobody could enjoy Lin’s Tebow-esque grip on American culture.
I saw this coming when I wrote my Whitlock-based post on Friday night:
In the right company, Whitlock’s tweet could be funny. Like if you’re hanging out in a living room with Sarah Silverman, Louis C.K., Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan and John Rocker.
That list should’ve included Eddie Murphy, who joked about the correlation between race and penis size in Delirious (very NSFW) with similarly unflattering comments about Asian men. Murphy’s excuses: it was 1983, he was on his way to becoming the biggest entertainment star on the planet, and his jokes killed it all night. Plus, as far as offensive content goes, the penis-size bit was Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood compared to his thoughts on homosexuals.
Whitlock’s tweet didn’t kill anything, not even his own career. The AAJA accepted Whitlock’s apology, and Whitlock will probably continue to write something every five days or so for Fox (11 columns so far in 2012 if you count the Lin apology — sweet gig).
So it goes in our “outrage … apology … onto the next story” media culture.