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Ball Don't Lie

Knicks fans create Change.org petition to keep Jeremy Lin

Eric Freeman
Ball Don't Lie

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Jeremy Lin wins an ESPY, thereby changing the world (Michael Tran/ FilmMagic).

One of the great things about the Internet is that people from different walks of life can come together for a common goal, whether that's helping people in need via online organizing or insulting random Internet writers in comments sections. Sites like Change.org, a web startup at which citizens can sign petitions and bring needed attention to worthwhile causes.

For the most part, Change.org exists for clear social activism. However, after the news of Jeremy Lin's possible departure from New York, the site turned into a place for sports fans to complain. As of this article's publication, 7,009 of a hoped-for 10,000 people have signed a petition calling for Knicks management to match the Rockets' offer for Lin. From the petition itself (via EOB):

Jeremy Lin is the best thing that has happened to New York Knicks basketball in the last 20 years.  With Jeremy Lin as the team's leader, the team won.  He averaged 18 points and 7 assists as a starter - All-Star level performance.  He has the largest fan base of any player in the NBA, by an order of magnitude.  He's got the personality and character that fans love.  He's the one player the New York Knicks need to keep, not lose.  Don't let Jeremy Lin go - match the Rockets' offer.

One can quibble with the specifics of this petition — the Knicks' run to the 1999 NBA Finals was a pretty big deal, and I'm not sure Lin has shown enough staying power to be clearly identified as the most popular player in the NBA. Whatever the case, as Kelly Dwyer has explained, it would be a good idea for the match. If fan outcry helps the Knicks decide to make that move, then the petition will have done its job.

[Related: Knicks likely to pass on Jeremy Lin with Raymond Felton on board]

On the other hand, it also looks a little silly next to the other petitions on Change.org. A quick glance at the site's home page brings up petitions such as "Secretary of Defense: Create a Central National Registry for Military Sex Offenders" and "Jamie Dimon must resign or be removed from the New York Federal Reserve Board of Directors." Those are worthwhile causes that would change the structure and practices of the sociopolitical world, not just decisions that decide if Jeremy Lin plays for one NBA team or another.

Change.org exists to serve its online community, and if those people decide that the Lin petition is worth signing then it theoretically has just as much value as any other successful 10,000-signatory cause. But from another perspective, placing Lin on the same level as tracking sex offenders seems like a mistake. Knicks fans have every right to push their front office to bring him back to the roster. It's just that, in doing so, they shouldn't go overboard in overstating the importance of his presence in New York.

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