Jeremy Lin pledges up to $1 million for coronavirus relief

Society & Culture

The China Sports Column is a SupChina weekly feature. 

Beijing Ducks star Jeremy Lin has pledged up to a million dollars to Direct Relief and Feeding America to help people get through this COVID-19 pandemic.

In an eloquent post for the Players’ Tribune, the 31-year-old Lin announced that he would directly contribute $500,000 to the two organizations, and further match up to $500,000 of additional donations.

The point guard wrote that he was pledging this money to help “organizations that are shining a light into the darkness” of COVID-19.

Lin, who has Taiwanese parents and mainland Chinese grandparents, has used his platform to speak out against the racism his family and friends have experienced during the pandemic.

“I know there are people out there who want this to be about country vs. country. East vs. West. They want this to be about politics. Left vs. right. But this isn’t about that. To me, it’s simple. This moment we’re living through is about darkness vs. light,” Lin wrote.

He continued, “This is deeply personal for me, people who I love very much, my own friends and family in America, are genuinely scared to leave their homes. At a time when Asian Americans are just as affected and anxious as anyone else about the crisis, they have to deal with this added layer of fear?!?”

You know, my whole life, I’ve been treated a certain way because I’m Asian. I’ve been called a chink, orch dork and chicken lo mein more than enough times. I’ve even been asked if I can see. I’ve been told to go back to where I came from. During the height of “Linsanity,” I was still the butt of many Asian jokes.

I just got used to it.

I didn’t want to make any waves. I didn’t want everything to always be about me being an Asian-American. I just wanted to hoop. In the grand scheme of things, I didn’t have anything to really complain about.

It was just words.

But over the last few weeks, as the tension and anxiety in the U.S. has gone through the roof, we’re seeing that there’s a real darkness beneath the words. It’s not just trash talking or trolling or hateful speech.

Lin then went on to link to several examples of discrimination against Asians in U.S. and around the world.

Lin, selected as a CBA All-Star back in January, catapulted to fame in the NBA during an incredible midseason run as a member of the New York Knicks during the 2011-12 season, earning the nickname “Linsanity.”

As governments — most notably China’s and America’s — continue to point fingers and argue amongst themselves, Lin has managed to pivot from Linsanity to just sanity. His perspective is a much-needed one, and rivals that of fellow NBA-to-CBA star Stephon Marbury’s in terms of sensibility and empathy.


Wuhan Zall return home, but domestic soccer postponed until June

Wuhan’s top soccer club has returned home after more than three months on the road.

The Chinese Super League (CSL) side made an emotional return to the city after an extended tour of training camps around the world.

Hundreds of fans greeted the team at the train station with flowers and facemasks upon their arrival.

The team began its preseason preparations back in early January in Guangzhou, then moved to a training camp in Spain later that month as the outbreak began to climax in Hubei province.

After more than a month in Spain, the team returned home to China via Germany on March 16.

At the time, Xinhua reported that the full squad had to undergo a full 14-day quarantine in Shenzhen, the location of their fourth training camp.

Since March, the squad had been training in Guangdong province. It got on a train back to Wuhan on Saturday.

While life returns to some faint semblance of normal in Wuhan, the CSL remains a long way from restarting. Postponed initially to March, the date was pushed to April, then Ma,  and now to June, according to Xinhua.


Taiwan baseball up and running

The Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) in Taiwan is up and running, becoming the first major professional sports league to resume play after being postponed due to COVID-19.

Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League is the only game in town (and the world)

For baseball fans craving live action, the sports media company Eleven Sports is streaming the Rakuten Monkey’s games for free and with English commentary.

You can find more streams on Twitch.

However, the league is being played behind closed doors in empty stadiums, leading to some eerie atmospheres. In an attempt to create some atmosphere, the CPBL has introduced a range of novel measures, including robot bands and mannequin fans attached to the seats.

During the most recent Rakuten Monkeys game, Fubon Guardians batter Hu Chin-lung got his 1,000th hit. Unfortunately for Hu, his impressive feat was celebrated live only by his teammates and robot musicians.

Meanwhile, Major League Baseball said it would delay its Opening Day until at least mid-May, while in Japan, the league start has been abandoned until further notice.

The China Sports Column runs every week on SupChina.