Lonergan responds to Lin claim - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Lonergan responds to Lin claim

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NBA star, Jeremy Lin claimed to be the victim of a racial slur when he played in Vermont as a member of the Harvard Crimson.

In a podcast released Thursday, the Brooklyn Nets guard, who is Asian-American, said he heard more taunts playing in college than he hears in the NBA. One of the examples he used was in a game at Vermont.

"In Vermont, I remember at one point, I had my hands up with the Vermont player was shooting free throws and the coach was like, 'Hey ref you can't let that Oriental do that," Lin said.

The game in which Lin is referring took place on December, 17th 2006, an 84-76 Harvard win in overtime. It was during Lin's Freshman season.

Mike Lonergan was in his second season as head coach at Vermont that year.  He released a statement late Thursday night to WCAX Sports.

"I have great respect for Jeremy Lin and was very sad to read that he thought 'the Vermont coach' referred to him as 'the oriental' to the referees during a game at Patrick Gym in 2006," Lonergan said.  "I don't know if he thought I said that but I can assure him that it wasn't me. I have NEVER used the word 'oriental' when describing a person. Jeremy was a freshman averaging 4 points a game and not a household name yet, so I may have told the ref to stop letting the 'Asian player' distract our free throw shooter. I have recruited numerous Asian and Asian-American players including Yuta Watanabe and Four McGlynn and these student athletes and their families know me well and know how much I value diversity and inclusion on my teams and staff. They know I would never refer to a player of Asian descent as 'oriental'. I apologize for any racism Jeremy experienced during his college career but I am not aware of anyone in Patrick Gymnasium, especially myself, referring to Jeremy as 'the Oriental'. There is no place for racism in college athletics. I have always been a huge fan of Jeremy's because he has been a role model and broken down stereotypes which has helped pave the way for others. My son Moe has a Jeremy Lin Knicks jersey and wears it proudly. I regret this misunderstanding and hope Jeremy continues to speak out against racism."

Lin also mentioned in the podcast, that his worst experience for hearing racial slurs was at Cornell. He also cited issues at Georgetown and Yale during his collegiate playing days from 2006-2010.

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