ESPN in damage control mode over Jeremy Lin comments


ESPN fired a headline writer for its mobile service and suspended a TV anchor for 30 days over use of the phrase “chink in the armor” in reference to New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin. The NBA player’s parents immigrated to the US from Taiwan and he is one of the few Asian-American players in the league.

For his part, Lin isn’t getting upset about the slurs. “I don’t even think that was intentional,” he told reporters, “or hopefully not.”

ESPN issued a statement of apology:

“At ESPN we are aware of three offensive and inappropriate comments made on ESPN outlets during our coverage of Jeremy Lin.

Saturday we apologized for two references. We have since learned of a similar reference Friday on ESPN Radio New York.

The incidents were separate and different. We have engaged in a thorough review of all three and have taken the following action:

–The ESPN employee responsible for our Mobile headline has been dismissed.

–The ESPNEWS anchor has been suspended for 30 days.

–The radio commentator is not an ESPN employee.

We again apologize, especially to Mr. Lin. His accomplishments are a source of great pride to the Asian-American community, including the Asian-American employees at ESPN. Through self-examination, improved editorial practices and controls, and response to constructive criticism, we will be better in the future.”

While the radio reference, also using the “chink in the armor” phrase, aired on WEPN-AM New York, it was from the New York Knicks Radio Network. Play-by-play “voice of the Knicks” Spero Dedes made the reference in his wrap up following the team’s 89-85 loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Friday (2/17) night.

ESPN TV anchor Max Bretos apologized via Twitter for his use of the phrase. “My wife is Asian. Would never intentionally say anything to disrespect her and that community,” he said while adding that regardless of his intention, the phrase was “inappropriate in this context.”