International sports behemoth ESPN stuck its foot firmly in its mouth with two racially insensitive missteps on in the past week, both involving Asian-American NBA rising star Jeremy Lin. How could ESPN have been so careless?
First, it was a broadcast mistake that may have gone unnoticed if you didn't listen closely. On Feb. 15, an ESPN analyst was discussing Lin's faults while commenting on the Knicks win against Sacramento. "If there is a chink in the armor, where can Lin improve his game?" he said, as caught in this YouTube clip.
Did he just say "chink", as in the racially offensive slur used against those of Asian descent? How did that pass by the FCC or ESPN overlords? ESPN moved quickly to apologize: "Wednesday night on ESPNEWS, an anchor used an inappropriate word in asking a question about Jeremy Lin. ESPN apologizes for the incident, and is taking steps to avoid this in the future.”
On Saturday morning, at around 2:30 a.m. ET, the mobile website for ESPN ran a headline about the Knicks' loss last night to the New Orleans Hornets, writing: "Chink in the armor." Again, really? What's ESPN's obsession with offending Lin and anyone who might think using the word "chink" to describe a person is idiocy at its most ignorant?
The offensive racial slur found in a headline on ESPN's mobile website, before it was taken down
ESPN was quick to pull down the headline 30 minutes later and then issued an apology: "We are conducting a complete review of our cross-platform editorial procedures and are determining appropriate disciplinary action to ensure this does not happen again. We regret and apologize for this mistake."
For those familiar with 24-hour journalism, they know a 2:30 a.m. newsroom may be filled with a skeleton crew who may be prone to tired silly mistakes. I've seen a misspelled word or a missing period in headline on my 24-hour sports channel here in Canada; but this was intentional. Someone decided to use a racial slur to describe Lin and it seems the ESPN editors didn't seem to care to have second thoughts about it.
It's as if ESPN frat boy manning the terminals can't resist making a few immature jokes at the expense of a player whose last name has spawned countless bad puns and they think they can do better, maybe add a smirking joke in the copy. Let's hope whoever crafted that racist headline got a swift kick in the pants for degrading Lin, his fans and anyone of Asian-American descent.
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