Some sports enthusiasts have accused the NBA of discriminating against Christian basketball star Jeremy Lin of the Charlotte Hornets because of his race.
Hsiu-Chen Kuei, a fan of Lin, recently questioned why NBA referees have never called a flagrant or technical foul on players who were rather violent on the Hornets' point guard, showing a video as proof. "Lin's health and safety are at risk, as Lin gets hit unnecessarily and excessively in the face, head, and neck areas by other players frequently," the fan said.
The NBA responded to the accusation, saying it found "no data that suggests Jeremy Lin is disadvantaged by our officiating staff."
"NBA referees use a set of criteria provided by the league office in determining whether a foul should be called flagrant," the NBA said in a statement. "Following the game, contact that is deemed flagrant by referees and other hard contact (whether called or not) is reviewed by NBA Basketball Operations."
"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," the NBA added.
Meanwhile, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league will pull the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte unless North Carolina lawmakers change or repeal the state's anti-LGBT bathroom bill, HB 2, according to ESPN.
Silver's announcement followed statements made by NBA personalities including Charles Barkley and Bryant Gumbel calling on the league to take a firm stand against the law.
Silver called HB 2 "problematic," saying the law could have potential consequences for the 2017 All-Star Game.
He expressed confidence though that North Carolina's lawmakers will "do the right thing."
"We've been, I think, crystal clear a change in the law is necessary for us to play in the kind of environment that we think is appropriate for a celebratory NBA event," Silver said on Thursday.
He said the NBA is more interested in working with local businesses and governments to effect change in the law, rather than in setting ultimatums about the 2017 All-Star Game.
"They know what's at stake in terms of the All-Star Game. But at least at the moment, constructive engagement on our part is the best way to go as opposed to putting a gun to their head and saying 'do this or else,'" Silver said.
"What's most important to this league is that there be a change in the law. It'd be easy to make a statement, but I can't cut and run here. I'm leaving my team there. It's an incredible state, and it's always had a reputation of being a progressive Southern state, and I believe they're going to do the right thing."