Jeremy Lin and ESPN: Network rushes to quell furor over slur


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Some folks at ESPN are Lin trouble.

The Disney-owned network is rushing to take action after an offensive racial term was used three separate times across its TV, radio and online platforms when discussing new NBA star Jeremy Lin.

After Lin’s New York Knicks lost a game Friday, a headline on the mobile website alluded to a ‘chink in the armor.’ Lin was born in the U.S. but is of Taiwanese heritage; ‘chink’ is, in certain contexts, a racial slur for a Chinese person. The headline was up for only a little over a half-hour before it was removed.


Earlier, on Wednesday, ESPN News anchor Max Bretos discussed Lin’s vulnerabilities and asked, ‘If there is a chink in the armor, where can Lin improve his game?’

On Sunday, ESPN announced that it had fired the employee who posted the headline and that Bretos had been suspended for 30 days.

Also, the network said that a ‘similar reference’ was used Friday night on ESPN Radio New York, but that the commentator who used it was not an ESPN employee.

On Twitter, Bretos apologized but said his remark was not meant to refer to Lin’s race. ‘My wife is Asian, would never intentionally say anything to disrespect her and that community,’ he wrote Saturday.

Meanwhile, NBC’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ turned the controversy over the media’s treatment of Lin into comedy. The ‘cold open’ showed three commentators making gleeful puns referring to the basketball star’s race, while a fourth earns glowers and contempt for making similar cracks about black players.

In a nationally televised game on ABC on Sunday, the Knicks beat the Dallas Mavericks, 104-97.



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-- Scott Collins