ESPN Apologizes for 3 Chink References in Jeremy Lin Coverage

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(Credit: the Big Lead, screenshot)

ESPN has apologized for using the term “chink” in a headline about NBA New York Knicks basketball player Jeremy Lin, the Big Lead reported. The Associated Press noted that Lin is “the NBA’s first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent.”

The Feb. 18 apology reads

“Last night,’s mobile web site posted an offensive headline referencing Jeremy Lin at 2:30 am ET. The headline was removed at 3:05 am ET. 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.”

Forbes‘ Gregory McNeal questioned ESPN’s apology noting that the apology has “avoidance in the language,” and that “there is also no admission of wrong-doing or acknowledgement that this may have been an intentionally offensive posting.”  McNeal also noted that, “Let’s not forget ESPN has a bit of a record with inappropriate comments:  Remember the ‘Trail of Tears’ reference?  How about the ‘He’s out having a Taco’ comment?  Or the ‘white boy wasted’ comment?”

AOL Sporting News noted that editor-in-chief Rob King tweeted “There’s no defense for the indefensible. All we can offer are our apologies, sincere though incalculably inadequate.”  ESPN fired the employee that wrote the headline, according to CNN.

Blogger Ebony Mom Politics also posted a YouTube clip of ESPN’s Max Bretos asking about a “chink in the armor” in a report on Lin.  According to SB Nation, ESPN “issued an additional apology” for that comment. That apology reads:

“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.”

ESPN has suspended Bretos for 30 days, according to CNN, which noted ESPN said “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.”

The Huffington Post reported that the Asian American Legal defense and Education Fund is calling for an on-air apology from ESPN.  The AALDEF’s statement (see here) suggested that the group meets with ESPN’s “editorial and production staff…to educate and assist in establishing procedures to prevent racism or stereotyping of Asian Americans in any future coverage.”

The group added, “The time for apologies is over. The media and the general public must understand that racist language and stereotypes used to describe Jeremy Lin are an insult to all Asian Americans, and no one should tolerate their use.”

The AALDEF noted that outside of the two recent ESPN references to “chink,” recently, the New York Knicks’ owner  “aired a racist image of Jeremy Lin popping out of a fortune cookie” and ” Fox Sports Columnist Jason Whitlock apologized for his offensive tweet about Jeremy.”

And, CNN reported that the term was used on ESPN Radio New York on Feb. 17.

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ESPN Apologizes for 3 Chink References in Jeremy Lin Coverage

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