The NBA Responds to Alleged Racial Bias of Jeremy Lin By Referees

Earlier this month, Hsiu-Chen Kuei, a 48-year-old fan of Jeremy Lin uploaded a YouTube video showing many instances of Lin suffering through unfair officiating by NBA referees.

In the video above, Lin is seen getting hit multiple times in the head without getting a flagrant foul call. Sometimes, a call is not even made at all. One instance shows Lin bleeding from the nose after a hard hit, but no foul is called.

Since the video has gone viral, the NBA has issued the following statement on their website:

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“After reviewing our extensive officiating database, we have found no data that suggests Jeremy Lin is disadvantaged by our officiating staff.  NBA referees use a set of criteria (available here) provided by the league office in determining whether a foul should be called flagrant.   Following the game, contact that is deemed flagrant by referees and other hard contact (whether called or not) is reviewed by NBA Basketball Operations.  As part of that review, Basketball Operations uses that same set of criteria, multiple video angles and enhancements, and its comparable database to calibrate its judgment.  When deemed appropriate, a foul can be upgraded or downgraded and applicable penalties can be assessed.  While some of the plays in the video involved hard contact, none was subsequently deemed a Flagrant Foul given the full circumstances, angles and comparables from past games.

With respect to the data, over the last three seasons, Mr. Lin ranked 21st among all players in number of drives to the basket with 1,537.   While he has not drawn a flagrant foul in that time, neither have other guards known for their driving ability like Reggie Jackson (2,031 drives), Tony Parker (1,974), Tyreke Evans (1,969), Ty Lawson (1,891), Kyrie Irving (1,649) or Victor Oladipo (1,544).  Conversely, Mr. Lin has drawn more common fouls on those drives than any of those previously listed players and has drawn fouls at the seventh-highest rate among the 23 players with more than 1,500 drives.

Furthermore, given the infrequency of flagrant fouls (roughly 1 per every 500 foul calls), it is not statistically significant that none of Mr. Lin’s 814 fouls drawn were deemed flagrant.”

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