Still Too Flagrant Not to Call: A Retrospection

Please help email the below letter to the NBA: nba-letters-l@nba.com
or NBA website,

Dear Commissioner Silver,

We would like to thank Mr. Bernstein of NBA Fan Relations who responded to our letter to you, referring to the non-calls on fouls committed on Jeremy Lin.

While we appreciate your timely response, we feel that you have not addressed our concerns. You referred to a set of criteria used in review. We have carefully studied the very same criteria prior to writing to Mr. Silver and specifically chose video evidence that met those criteria. We have arrived at different conclusions from yours.

Furthermore, NBA fans and pundits with no particular interest in Jeremy Lin have offered the same reaction to ours. We would like to believe that this warrants a more active and interested response from the stewards of the sport that we all enjoy. We are disappointed that your initial letter feels perfunctory and dismissive.

Please allow us to expound with the following points:

1. NBA Flagrant Fouls Criteria Necessitating Review

The criteria established for judging culpability specifically sets forth the conditions under which the commitment of fouls should be deemed flagrant, whether or not they are committed as parts of legitimate plays. These conditions include:

1a The severity of the contact
1b Recklessness and hard contact to the head
1c Potential for injury resulting from contact (for instance, a blow to the head) while the player is in a vulnerable position

As avid and informed fans of the game who have carefully reviewed the video clips of the hits, it is hard for us to conclude that these were not flagrant fouls based on the NBA Flagrant Foul rules. Even in cases when the hard fouls are not found to be flagrant, the officials should have at least conducted a review whenever the NBA rules criteria are met. It would deter NBA players from further excessive and dangerous physical contact jeopardizing player’s health and safety.

We will focus on the most glaring examples of these situations. The first in the video was the play by Kobe Bryant, which in numerous pundits’ words, “nearly decapitated” Lin. This was clearly hard contact to the head (NBA FF Criteria 1b)

The next example was the vicious uppercut by Carmelo Anthony which defied any logical justification within the flow of the game, so much so that a fan who was sitting in front of the basket screamed, “Don’t be hurtin’ Lin” having witnessed the severity of the foul. The slow-motion replay also drew horrified reactions from the TV commentators. There was most certainly a potential injury (NBA FF Criteria 1c) resulting from both these examples.

The third example was the contact from James Harden. We have attached stills of all three of these examples. All were most certainly blows to the head (NBA FF criteria 1c).

When Lin was hit, and hit hard repeatedly–whether or not with intention, blood poured out of his nose as he grimaced in pain. These instances happened in plain sight of the referees. Yet, inexplicably, these were not called as flagrant, or not at all. When a foul was called, it was never reviewed as a possible flagrant foul despite meeting all the stated requirements.

Our point is that none of these was reviewed in the game when the NBA rules you refer to clearly say they should have, and in the other examples in the video on other players, they were, in fact, reviewed. We would have expected NBA officials to at least conduct a review any time a hard foul involves a reckless blow to the head or undercut legs when a player is in a vulnerable position (i.e. airborne shooter).

2. Professional Guidance from Former NBA Referee; Agreement from other Fans; Media Opinion

While we speak on behalf of many Jeremy Lin fans, we would like to point out that we are not alone in our assessment of the video evidence. We have also consulted a former professional NBA referee to ensure that our conclusions were not tainted by our natural inclination as Lin fans.


twitter.com/NunnBetterRefs

We also invite you to refer to the Reddit NBA thread () where the response is overwhelmingly similar to ours, and to various news outlets and reactions that have seen the video.

We have provided links to a few of these:

04/18/2016 Jeremy Lin can’t buy a flagrant foul yet NBA refuses to admit it’s wrong, Ebenezer Samuel, NY Daily News

04/17/2016 By Not Protecting Jeremy Lin, NBA Sends Wrong Messages To Children, Bruce Y. Lee, http://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2016/04/17/by-not-protecting-jeremy-lin-nba-sends-wrong-messages-to-children/#7e5f6038729e

04/15/2016 ESPN First Take: Why Doesn’t Jeremy Lin Get More Flagrant Foul Calls?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGITqAYITSs

04/12/2016 These NBA Fans Are Trying To Get Jeremy Lin Some Damn Respect, Justin Block, HuffingtonPost, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jeremy-lin-flagrant-foul-video-nba-response_us_570be9f9e4b0142232499d72?

04/12/2016 Fans Wonder Why Jeremy Lin Doesn’t Get More Flagrant Foul Calls; Lin Thinks They Have A PointTom Ley, DeadSpinhttp://deadspin.com/fans-wonder-why-jeremy-lin-doesnt-get-more-flagrant-fou-1770504801

We would particularly like to draw your attention to the article in Forbes by Bruce Y. Lee, “By Not Protecting Jeremy Lin, NBA Sends Wrong Messages To Children”Mr. Lee asserts that regardless of the reason for these non-calls, not acknowledging them as dangerous and flagrant sends out the wrong message to NBA fans and especially impressionable children who watch the game. We echo his sentiments that the NBA has the opportunity to send out a positive message that the safety and welfare of those who play the sport are of paramount importance at all times.

3. Our reaction to NBA’s April 16 Response to the New York Times Article (citing ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh)

We acknowledge and thank you for referencing the data of ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh, stating that Jeremy Lin has been called 813 fouls without receiving a flagrant.

We appreciate your citing aggregate data to put Lin’s situation in perspective. But the central question remains: Why is Lin being fouled flagrantly and repeatedly with these fouls not being called and no in-game reviews being given? Aggregate data does not reflect the treatment of Lin by his opponents, compared to that experienced by other players, nor does it explain the non-action on the part of the referees.

You have made an assertion that comparable players also have not drawn flagrant fouls. While that comparison is helpful, we need to recognize the fact that other players may not have been hit as regularly and as flagrantly as Lin has.

Lastly, you use an overall ratio of flagrant fouls to total fouls as a way to illustrate the statistical insignificance of Lin drawing not even one flagrant foul out of a total of 814 fouls (the data reported by ESPN). Again, this rationale does not answer the central question of why the flagrant fouls inflicted on Lin have been ignored.

This is not an issue of statistical probability. It is an issue of judgement. We accept that the chance of getting a flagrant foul is statistically rare, but that does not refute our argument that when a situation happens in game where it deserves a review, it should happen at all times, for every player in every team. We hope you will agree with us that statistical chance should have very little part when it comes to the safety and welfare of any NBA player.

4. Concerns for NBA Players’ Safety and Hope for Better NBA Officiating

We recognize that the NBA continues to reach out to wider audiences and has probably the most diverse fan base in professional sports. This diversity probably reflects best in Jeremy Lin’s fan base. As such, we would like to believe that the NBA will take our concerns seriously.

The game and its participants will benefit from your recognition of this issue and any potential reforms as a result.

This video and the Chinese subtitled-version have reached close to three million views in total. It has raised an unprecedented level of awareness and interest. Fans have expressed concern that if these conditions remained unaddressed, the safety of all players will be at risk.

Given these worries, the reaction among fans has been almost universally shock and dismay that the league has chosen to respond to our protest with seeming dismissiveness.

We make our case on the basis that interest and care should be directed not just to Jeremy, but ultimately for the protection and welfare of every player, and to uphold the integrity and fairness that should be integral to one of the world’s premier sport.

Yours sincerely,

NBA Fans

Dear Commissioner Silver,

敬愛的 蕭華主席您好:

 We would like to thank Mr. Bernstein of NBA Fan Relations who responded to our letter to you, referring to the non-calls on fouls committed on Jeremy Lin.

感謝NBA公關助理伯恩斯坦先生對我們向您訴求關注林書豪無惡犯判罰的問題給我們的回信。

While we appreciate your timely response, we feel that you have not addressed our concerns. You referred to a set of criteria used in review. We have carefully studied the very same criteria prior to writing to Mr. Silver and specifically chose video evidence that met those criteria. We have arrived at different conclusions from yours.

我們感謝您非常及時的回應,但是我們覺得您並沒有針對我們提出關心的問題提供解說。 您在對我們的回應中使用了一些準則來評斷,這些準則我們在撰寫給肖華主席和選擇影片時都非常小心的研究和求證過,但是在這相同的準則下,我們得出的結論卻是完全不同。

Furthermore, NBA fans and pundits with no particular interest in Jeremy Lin have offered the same reaction to ours. We would like to believe that this warrants a more active and interested response from the stewards of the sport that we all enjoy. We are disappointed that your initial letter feels perfunctory and dismissive.

而且,廣大的NBA粉絲和一些對林書豪沒有特別興趣的籃球權威專業人士都贊同我們的結論。 因此我們相信這值得讓我們最喜歡的籃球運動的管理人提供更具體和認真的回應。 因為我們對您敷衍和輕蔑的回應感到非常失望。

Please allow us to expound with the following points:

請讓我們以下列幾點詳細訴說:

1. NBA Flagrant Fouls Criteria Necessitating Review
1. NBA惡意犯規必須複查的準則

The criteria established for judging culpability specifically sets forth the conditions under which the commitment of fouls should be deemed flagrant, whether or not they are committed as parts of legitimate plays. These conditions include:

此準則確定在以下各情境發生時應該做出惡意犯規的判罰,無論犯規者的動作是不是合法動作的一部分。 這些情境包括:

1a The severity of the contact

1a 犯規者和被犯規者嚴重的碰觸

1b Recklessness and hard contact to the head

1b 粗魯和用力的碰觸被犯規者的頭部

1c Potential for injury resulting from contact (for instance, a blow to the head) while the player is in a vulnerable position

1c 當被犯規者在容易受傷的位置時,使用容易因碰觸而造成受傷的動作(例如對頭部的撞擊)

As avid and informed fans of the game who have carefully reviewed the video clips of the hits, it is hard for us to conclude that these were not flagrant fouls based on the NBA Flagrant Foul rules. Even in cases when the hard fouls are not found to be flagrant, the officials should have at least conducted a review whenever the NBA rules criteria are met. It would deter NBA players from further excessive and dangerous physical contact jeopardizing player’s health and safety.

我們自認是熱心而且是老經驗的球迷,在我們仔細看了這些碰撞的短片後,依據NBA惡意犯規的認定準則,很難讓我們得到這不是惡意犯規的結論。 就算不是惡意犯規,裁判至少需要作出看回放複查的決定,因為這些犯規符合了NBA惡意犯規認定的標準。 這樣的舉動會幫助節制未來其他球員繼續用過度而且危險的肢體碰撞來危害球員的安全和健康。

We will focus on the most glaring examples of these situations. The first in the video was the play by Kobe Bryant, which in numerous pundits’ words, “nearly decapitated” Lin. This was clearly hard contact to the head (NBA FF Criteria 1b).  

讓我們專注在這幾個最值得矚目的例子上。 在影片的第一段,是布萊恩的犯規,場邊負責轉播的專業球評發出了“林書豪幾乎被斷頭”的驚呼。這毫無疑問是對頭部用力的撞擊 (NBA惡意犯規準則1b)。

The next example was the vicious uppercut by Carmelo Anthony which defied any logical justification within the flow of the game, so much so that a fan who was sitting in front of the basket screamed, “Don’t be hurtin’ Lin” having witnessed the severity of the foul. The slow-motion replay also drew horrified reactions from the TV commentators. There was most certainly a potential injury (NBA FF Criteria 1c) resulting from both these examples.

下一個例子是甜瓜安東尼兇猛的上鉤拳,這個老拳完全無法以合理的籃球動作來解釋,而且與當時林上籃的節奏無關。這個恐怖的惡犯情景讓一位在場邊的球迷心痛的大喊“不要傷害我林”! 在慢動作的重播時,場邊的專業球評也被震撼到! 毫無疑問的,這兩個都是容易造成球員受傷的例子(NBA惡意犯規準則 1c).

The third example was the contact from James Harden. We have attached stills of all three of these examples. All were most certainly blows to the head (NBA FF criteria 1c).

第三個例子是哈登的犯規,我們附上這三個例子的靜態照片。 三個全部確定都是對頭部的撞擊(NBA惡意犯規準則1c).

When Lin was hit, and hit hard repeatedly–whether or not with intention, blood poured out of his nose as he grimaced in pain. These instances happened in plain sight of the referees. Yet, inexplicably, these were not called as flagrant, or not at all. When a foul was called, it was never reviewed as a possible flagrant foul despite meeting all the stated requirements.

無論是有意或無心,當林被反復重擊到頭部時,痛苦的皺著眉,鮮血從鼻子噴湧流下。這情景就發生在裁判的眼前。但是,很無言的說,裁判竟然没有判罰惡犯,或者常常連普通犯規都沒有。而且,就算裁判做出了普通判罰,卻沒有一次拿到惡犯複查,儘管所有動作都符合惡犯的準則。

Our point is that none of these was reviewed in the game when the NBA rules you refer to clearly say they should have, and in the other examples in the video on other players, they were, in fact, reviewed. We would have expected NBA officials to at least conduct a review any time a hard foul involves a reckless blow to the head or undercut legs when a player is in a vulnerable position (i.e. airborne shooter).

我們的觀點是,在NBA的準則下非常清楚規定需要複查的情形下,竟然沒有一次裁判要求複查。而在其他幾個別的球員的例子裏,裁判都做了複查。 我們會預期NBA的裁判在發生頭部碰撞或在球員上籃時沒有留出可以安全落地的空間的嚴重犯規時,至少要根據規則做出複查的決定。

2. Professional Guidance from Former NBA Referee; Agreement from other Fans; Media Opinion
二.前NBA裁判專業指導;  粉絲共鳴;  媒體意見
While we speak on behalf of many Jeremy Lin fans, we would like to point out that we are not alone in our assessment of the video evidence. We have also consulted a former professional NBA referee to ensure that our conclusions were not tainted by our natural inclination as Lin fans.

當我們以林書豪粉絲的身份發聲,在檢視影片中呈現的證據時,我們並不孤單。我們咨詢了一位前NBA裁判,希望由此,不會因為我們是林書豪粉絲身份的偏見而 影響到真正事實的呈現。

https://twitter.com/NunnBetterRefs/status/718551628979302400

We also invite you to refer to the Reddit NBA thread (https://reddit.com/r/nba/comments/4dx190/jeremy_lin_too_flagrant_not_to_call/) where the response is overwhelmingly similar to ours, and to various news outlets and reactions that have seen the video.

我們同時邀請您瀏覽一下在Reddit論壇上NBA區中的一條議題(https://reddit.com/r/nba/comments/4dx190/jeremy_lin_too_flagrant_not_to_call/ ) 在數千個回應中,還有不同的新聞媒體的反應,大多數都認同我們對影片的認知。

We have provided links to a few of these:

我們提供了以下數個鏈接:

04/18/2016 Jeremy Lin can’t buy a flagrant foul yet NBA refuses to admit it’s wrong,Ebenezer Samuel, NY Daily News

04/17/2016 By Not Protecting Jeremy Lin, NBA Sends Wrong Messages To Children, Bruce Y. Lee, http://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2016/04/17/by-not-protecting-jeremy-lin-nba-sends-wrong-messages-to-children/#7e5f6038729e

04/15/2016 ESPN First Take: Why Doesn’t Jeremy Lin Get More Flagrant Foul Calls?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGITqAYITSs

04/12/2016 These NBA Fans Are Trying To Get Jeremy Lin Some Damn Respect,Justin Block, HuffingtonPost, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jeremy-lin-flagrant-foul-video-nba-response_us_570be9f9e4b0142232499d72?

04/12/2016 Fans Wonder Why Jeremy Lin Doesn’t Get More Flagrant Foul Calls; Lin Thinks They Have A PointTom Ley, DeadSpinhttp://deadspin.com/fans-wonder-why-jeremy-lin-doesnt-get-more-flagrant-fou-1770504801

We would particularly like to draw your attention to the article in Forbes by Bruce Y. Lee, “By Not Protecting Jeremy Lin, NBA Sends Wrong Messages To Children”Mr. Lee asserts that regardless of the reason for these non-calls, not acknowledging them as dangerous and flagrant sends out the wrong message to NBA fans and especially impressionable children who watch the game. We echo his sentiments that the NBA has the opportunity to send out a positive message that the safety and welfare of those who play the sport are of paramount importance at all times.

我們想特別提醒您看看李先生在Forbes 雜誌發表的文章:如果不保護林書豪,NBA就在給年輕的孩子們發出錯誤的信息 李先生稱,無論這些無吹罰是什麼原因。但是,不承認它們的危險性和惡意性,NBA就是對球迷們發表錯誤的信息,特別是愛看比賽而易受影響的孩子。 我們贊同李先生的觀點,NBA必須對社會負責,發出積極而正面的信息,告訴大眾,運動安全和球員福利永遠是球隊最重的資產

3. Our reaction to NBA’s April 16 Response to the New York Times Article (citing ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh)
. 我們對NBA在四月16號回應紐約時報有關此事件文章的反應 (引用 ESPN 湯姆 哈博思聰) 

We acknowledge and thank you for referencing the data of ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh, stating that Jeremy Lin has been called 813 fouls without receiving a flagrant.

我們知道了您參考了ESPN湯姆 哈博思聰的數據,有關林書豪在過去3年被犯規813次,而沒有得到一次惡性犯規。

We appreciate your citing aggregate data to put Lin’s situation in perspective. But the central question remains: Why is Lin being fouled flagrantly and repeatedly with these fouls not being called and no in-game reviews being given? Aggregate data does not reflect the treatment of Lin by his opponents, compared to that experienced by other players, nor does it explain the non-action on the part of the referees.

我們非常感謝您引用了先進的數據讓我們能清楚的看見林的處境。 但是最重要的問題依然是:為什麼林書豪重複的,惡意的被犯規,而沒有判罰,甚至沒有做回放複查? 這搜集的數據不能反映對方球員對林書豪的態度和對其他球員有什麼不同,也不能解釋為什麼裁判對這些犯規視若無睹。

You have made an assertion that comparable players also have not drawn flagrant fouls. While that comparison is helpful, we need to recognize the fact that other players may not have been hit as regularly and as flagrantly as Lin has.

在您的回信中指出,很多其他的後衛也沒有拿到惡犯。這個比較,也許有些道理,但是我們仍需要檢視,這些球員有像林一樣不斷的受到這兇猛的攻擊嗎

Lastly, you use an overall ratio of flagrant fouls to total fouls as a way to illustrate the statistical insignificance of Lin drawing not even one flagrant foul out of a total of 814 fouls (the data reported by ESPN). Again, this rationale does not answer the central question of why the flagrant fouls inflicted on Lin have been ignored.

最後,您用了一個惡意犯規數整體的比例來闡明林書豪在統計被犯規814次而沒有惡意犯規是在誤差範圍內的 (ESPN的數據) 再一次,這個闡述並沒有回答為什麼對林的這些惡意犯規一再被忽視的中心問題。

This is not an issue of statistical probability. It is an issue of judgement. We accept that the chance of getting a flagrant foul is statistically rare, but that does not refute our argument that when a situation happens in game where it deserves a review, it should happen at all times, for every player in every team. We hope you will agree with us that statistical chance should have very little part when it comes to the safety and welfare of any NBA player.

這不是一個數據可能性的問題這是一個對事實作出正確判斷的問題。 我們可以接受在統計數據上,惡性犯規發生的機率非常小,但是這並不能駁斥我們的論點,當在比賽中發生這些情況時,它需要被複查。 它需要每一次都被遵守,不管是任何球員或任何球隊。 我們希望您同意我們的觀點,統計數據跟任何球員的安全和健康沒有太大的關係。

4. Concerns for NBA Players’ Safety and Hope for Better NBA Officiating
. 關心NBA球員的安全,希望NBA裁判更好的吹判比賽

We recognize that the NBA continues to reach out to wider audiences and has probably the most diverse fan base in professional sports. This diversity probably reflects best in Jeremy Lin’s fan base. As such, we would like to believe that the NBA will take our concerns seriously.

我們知道NBA不斷的推廣到更多的觀眾,大概是職業運動中粉絲最多元化的。 這個多元化最能反映就是林書豪的粉絲群。所以,我們相信NBA會對我們這一群最多元化的粉絲認真對待。

The game and its participants will benefit from your recognition of this issue and any potential reforms as a result.

如果聯盟能夠關注這些問題的發展及改進的可能性,所有的球隊和球員們都能在這些改革下受益。

This video and the Chinese subtitled-version have reached close to three million views in total. It has raised an unprecedented level of awareness and interest. Fans have expressed concern that if these conditions remained unaddressed, the safety of all players will be at risk.

該視頻和中文字幕版已經有將近三百萬的综合點擊率。它在提高球迷們的認知和關注上, 達到了前所未有的程度。球迷們擔心,如果這些問題仍然無法得到解決,所有球員的安全都將受到威脅。

Given these worries, the reaction among fans has been almost universally shock and dismay that the league has chosen to respond to our protest with seeming dismissiveness.

鑑於這些擔憂,聯盟對球迷訴求所做出​​的草率回應,讓普世的球迷們感到震撼和失望

We make our case on the basis that interest and care should be directed not just to Jeremy, but ultimately for the protection and welfare of every player, and to uphold the integrity and fairness that should be integral to one of the world’s premier sport.

我們提出這個議題不僅止於對林書豪的關心和喜愛,也希望最終能保護到所有球員的福利和健康,並可以維護這個世界最高水準籃球運動的公正和公平。

Yours sincerely,

您最誠摯的

NBA Fans

NBA 粉絲

Thank you for all the hard work and sleepless nights by multiple authors: 

@yascar, @Melody, @K.P.Chan, Jen2Jenny, @JAD2456, FondaW, SteveP (Chinese translation), JackJack, @psalm234 and many others 🙂

Hopefully our appeal and concerns may make a difference for the NBA to protect the safety of players and send a good message to kids that they do care.

Profile photo of Yahmin