ESPN uses racial epithet in headline of Jeremy Lin Story: “Chink in the Armor”

"ESPN/Disney...I'm so disappointed in you"

So ever since the Jeremy Lin sensation has taken over the media (about 2 weeks ago), there has been a string of incidents that have not been exactly positive or favorable in the Asian American community. Let’s recap:

• Jason Whitlock comment on twitter implying Jeremy Lin has a 2 inch penis because he is…Asian. Haha, so funny, right? We love you Mr. Whitlock (a.k.a. BBC)

• Floyd Mayweather’s twitter comment about how Jeremy Lin is only being recognized because he’s Asian and that black players do what he does every night but don’t get recognition. True, I agree, but he’s missing the points. It’s not just about Lin’s incredible numbers/stats. It’s about an Asian player competing and going up against successfully against players in a sport that is dominated by black athletes. And there is much more than just this.

• Fortune Cookie…need I say more? (See previous post for this)

And now…I’ve got one more to add and the guilty party this time is none other than ESPN!

Here is what happened:

SPN uses racial epithet in headline of Jeremy Lin Story

ESPN has been the biggest champion of New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin’s rise during the team’s seven-game winning streak. But they have potentially undone it all with a horribly racist headline that appeared on tablets, iphones, Androids and other mobile devices following the Knicks’ loss to the Hornets. It may have appeared online as well, but Outsports was only able to see it on ESPN’s mobile sites late Friday night.
Lin had nine turnovers in the game and inspired the headline, “Chink in the Armor” (screen capture after the jump). The term is akin to any other racist epithet you can imagine. Gay athlete Rod Silvestre, who is of Filipino descent and plays in the New York Gay Football League, was understandably outraged by the headline. He posted on Facebook:

Is ESPN serious with their lead story on their web page?

How do you go from celebrating one of the best underdog stories, to now talking about Jeremy Lin for all the wrong reasons. ESPN should be embarrassed.

We want to give ESPN the benefit of the doubt here, but it’s impossible to believe the person who wrote that headline didn’t know exactly what they were writing. Especially since ESPN previously came under fire for using the same headline…to describe a USA basketball game in China.

Update, Feb. 18, 12:10AMPT: ESPN has changed the headline to “All good things….” We have reached out to them for comment.!

Oh, but don’t get all your panties in a bunch. ESPN, or should I say Disney, has made a swift apology.

ESPN sorry for offensive headline on Lin story:

NEW YORK (AP) — ESPN has apologized for using a racial slur in a headline for a story on Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin.

ESPN ran the headline “Chink in the Armor” after Lin had nine turnovers in New York’s loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night on its mobile website that could be seen on phones and tablet computers.

Lin is the NBA’s first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent. He has captivated sports fans with unexpected dominance on the court that sparked a seven-game winning streak.

ESPN says in a statement Saturday it removed the headline 35 minutes after it was posted. The cable network says it is “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.”


9 thoughts on “ESPN uses racial epithet in headline of Jeremy Lin Story: “Chink in the Armor”

  1. “We want to give ESPN the benefit of the doubt here, but it’s impossible to believe the person who wrote that headline didn’t know exactly what they were writing. Especially since ESPN previously came under fire for using the same headline…to describe a USA basketball game in China.”

    I am not an Asian-american and English is neither my first language nor my mother tongue. But I won’t give ESPN the benefit of the doubt. Everything said or done “against” Lin was intentional. Racism in America is an organic entity. People (i.e. white people) constantly feed off its manifestation.
    It was not a coincidence. It was not humor. It was not obliviousness.
    It was perfect synchronization. At the right moment, a bomb was released. At the right moment when an Asian man is going to be revered, someone or something will come to “shoot” him down. In the US the veneration of Asian (men) is the greatest taboo.
    In fact, I was not even surprised that something like that happened to Lin. I would have been surprised if something like that didn’t happen! In other words, I was expecting it…

  2. Update
    Federico was sacked by ESPN but later insisted it was an “honest mistake”. WTH does “honest mistake” mean?
    His only mistake was to have some “quick fun” at the expense of some Asian man whom he could not resist not making fun of and then quickly (and innocently) get away with it. Doesn’t this kind of shoddy behavior belong to the whole white collective consciousness behind this kind of lowly contempt being recurrently performed against Asians without any repercussion afterwards? Usually, this is how things happen… poke fun at Asian people (who are “easy” targets) and nothing backfires!
    Only this time it does backfire nastily…
    It is such a pity that this Federico lost his job in the name of this collective consciousness who sacrificed him to make the situation look as if it was an isolated case. Unfortunately, Federico is NOT an isolated case. He and another colleague (Bretos) were just scapegoats. They were the Chinks in the ESPN armor! Cute and punny? May be not…
    Bretos insisted that he could not be condescending towards Asians since his wife was also Asian. While I don’t think he had had any malicious intent during his sport commentaries… To have an Asian wife is NOT even a condition to not being patronizing. Well this is another story. This is just to say that Bretos didn’t have to justify his act with these foolish words. IMO, he was not guilty and he just had to shut up.

  3. The Asian male is constantly under attack in the media, it is only the Asian female that is wanted and desired. Having an Asian wife just makes the person even worse, as the wife is just an exotic object they own. Notice how many of these people speak their wife’s language, and it is always the wife asking how they can better fit in with the inferior culture of the so-called white alpha male. And of course they can cook Asian food much better than Asians!

    But what has really mad me angry is all the black people posting here with their nonsense, Asians deserve this? Black people have it easy, their culture is promoted as being cool and hip, MTV told white women to go out and get a black man as it was the ‘in thing’. Asian men are weak, comical, geeky, never promoted as desirable or cool. And here is a guy doing amazing things, not just as an Asian, but as a rookie player! Things which great players in the past never even did, it is only the stupid media that makes race such a big issue here.

    Divide and rule, it is how the colonists took over our lands and enslaved our people, and it is how they keep us as second class citizens in their land. And if you know the one group behind all this, who run Hollywood and were the financiers behind the slave ships, you’ll find the biggest racists out there.

  4. As the risk of being the level-headed black man in the room. The relationship between black men and women and white men and women goes back much farther than when people from Asian countries, as we know them now, immigrated to America. It’s complex dynamic that has roots in the forbidden “fruit” and glorification of European beauty; while its spoken on these pages of the denigration of the Asian male and praise of the Asian female, the black female faces even greater challenges in some cases in being desired by black men and white culture.

    As for black culture being promoted as a “cool” part of popular culture it should be noted that no part of the “popular” black culture started as such. “Jazz” music started as negative term for black instrumentalists who played like “ass” in “jism” houses. Hip-hop started as something that existed only in inner city neighborhoods in spite of gang violence and a lack of funding for the arts. It’s popularity is due in fact to its accessibility for anyone to express the hardships of their environment or their desire for more than what they have. It wasn’t until the late 80s and 90s that hip-hop artists and rappers found success on popular radio. Those of us who came of age in the 90s don’t have much recollection of a time when rap music WASN’T heard on the radio.

    And for the lack of proper representation of Asian men in the media and popular culture, it might time for the SAMs to take this site to the next level. It wasn’t until I found this site while researching about the stereotypes that of other ethnicities that lack of strong Asian men was a serious issue, and it truly is. With that said, I also haven’t seen much here that clearly sets the standard for what makes a strong Asian man. As a black man that grew up without a father I’ve had to figure out on my own what kind of man I chose to become and what makes a good man.

    Maybe there could be more written in praise of the everyday strong Asian men that don’t get recognition. If there is more talk of and examples of what makes a strong Asian man that’s “desirable and cool” you can start to create the change you are looking to see in the world around you.

    I personally applaud the SAMs for taking this site in the direction that they have. I don’t quite know how you organize the many ethnic backgrounds that fall under the heading of “Asian” but figuring out what is your common problem is a good start.

    I find myself returning to a quote written in 1925 by Dr. Alain Locke, speaking of Harlem, wrote that the American Negro culture was a culture, “…of a common condition rather than a common consciousness; a problem in common, rather than a life in common.” It might time to start taking serious steps towards solving the problems facing SAM.

  5. It is consider racist if it done the point of superiority. It pretty obvious the person doing it from starting of superiority and try to make fun of J.Lin.

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