Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. has been in the news - not for boxing, of course, which he seems intent on avoiding. The welterweight, who has been ducking a fight with Filipino powerhouse Manny Pacquiao for years, instead took to Twitter to make racially charged comments about Jeremy Lin, the former Harvard basketball player who’s become an unlikely sensation for the New York Knicks.
“Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian,’’ Mayweather tweeted. “Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise.’’
If Mayweather’s comments sound oddly familiar, it’s because they uncannily echo Rush Limbaugh’s remarks in 2003 that Donovan McNabb was only getting attention because the media wanted to see a successful black quarterback - an inane comment that cost Limbaugh his job as an ESPN football analyst.
Yes, Lin is a source of pride for Asian fans - but it’s precisely because he’s doing something extraordinary. The Knicks have been a joke for years, and Lin led them to a string of unlikely wins. One was over the Los Angeles Lakers, who feature one of the game’s all-time greats, Kobe Bryant. An athlete proving himself by taking on and beating the best? Maybe that’s something Mayweather could learn from.