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ESPN’s Racist Jeremy Lin Comment Gets Writer Fired

Submitted by on February 20, 2012 – 4:06 pm13 Comments
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We can all admit that the constant Jeremy Lin puns and plays-on-words have worn out their welcome. However, we still continue to see them splashed across headlines. Occasionally we grimace at the latest “Lin-sanity” or “All he does is Lin-Lin-Lin” quips, but one headline in particular had us cringing for a much different reason. Rather than being a fun and exhausting play on words, ESPN posted a headline on Saturday morning that was downright offensive and racially insensitive.

“Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin’s 9 Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-stopping Loss to Hornets”

The headline sat on ESPN.com’s mobile page for roughly half an hour Saturday before someone had that Ron Burgandy in Anchorman moment. (Will Ferrell says, “Go f*ck yourself San Diego,” and proceedes to walk off set as if nothing happened, until he realizes the irreversible damage he committed in front of a national audience.) Surely there were quite a few at ESPN that drove their hands into their foreheads when they saw the headline. How exactly does that happen?

Sadly, there are still some sensitivity issues towards Asian Americans that haven’t completely been hashed out. African American and Mexican American athletes haven’t had to worry much about seeing a racial slur make it to the front page of the world’s largest sporting news outlet. Nobody would even consider using that terminology on a LeBron James or a Juan Manuel Marquez. But for Asians, the rules are unfortunately a little bit different. For some reason, some people don’t seriously consider slander against Asian Americans as wrong. Floyd Mayweather once said about Manny Pacquiao, “Once I stomp the midget, I’ll make that mother f*cker make me a sushi roll and cook me some rice.” People winced, but things went along as normal a few weeks later.

Using the word “chink” on ESPN is utterly unacceptable and has led to the network releasing a statement apologizing for the remark while terminating the writer who penned the slur. Lin, being the bigger man, took the apology in stride and didn’t necessarily see it as malicious; although somebody else might.

“I don’t think it was on purpose or whatever, but they have apologized and so from my end I don’t care anymore,” Lin said in a televised interview after leading the Knicks to a 104- 97 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday. “Have to learn to forgive and I don’t even think that was intentional. Or hopefully not.”

It may not have been “intentional,” but it certainly was reckless and reprehensible. Although Jeremy Lin accepted their apology, this shouldn’t be swept under the rug. Yes, ESPN disciplined the responsible parties but we, as a country, have to make sure these things don’t happen again.

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