ESPN has fired one employee and suspended another over an ethnic slur used in a Jeremy Lin headline. It was also used when talking about the pro basketball player’s game.
The “Linsanity” that has been caused over New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin who is of Chinese-Tiawanese decent, is because the 23-year-old Harvard graduate has literally come out of nowhere, a little over two weeks ago to lead the team to an 8-1 run, with his surprisingly great play.
Last Wednesday night, ESPN anchor Matt Bretos was discussing the playing style of Lin and asked a basketball analyst if, “there is a ‘chink’ in the armor, where can Lin improve his game?”
Then on the following Friday the Knicks saw their first loss with Lin leading them. On Saturday morning, one of the headlines that runs on the networks mobile site read, “Chink in the Armor,” for 35 minutes until it was pulled.
In response to using the phrase ‘chink’ and associating it with Lin, ESPN fired the person responsible for the headline and then suspended anchor Matt Bretos for 30 days. ESPN reported that both of those and a third incident, were the slur was used on a ESPN radio show by a non-network employee, are being investigated.
“The incidents were separate and different,” ESPN said in a statement Sunday. “We have engaged in a thorough review of all three.”
When Lin was asked about the slur after Sunday’s win against the depending champion Dallas Mavericks, he responded, “I don’t think it was on purpose. At the same time, they’ve apologized. I don’t care anymore.”
“We again apologize, especially to Mr. Lin,” ESPN said. “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,” ESPN said.