ESPN ‘Chink in the Armor’ Headline Writer Fired for Jeremy Lin’s Coverage

ESPN announced it has fired the writer of the “Chink in the armor” headline during the Jeremy Lin coverage some 36 hours after the racially insensitive headline was seen.

ESPN has fired the headline writer responsible for the 'Chink in the armor' headline that appeared during the coverage of New York Knicks' Jeremy Lin. Photo: DvYang/Flickr

The sports network fired the headline writer who wrote the offending headline, suspended an anchor who said the phrase on air and promised to be “better in the future.”

“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,” says ESPN.

“I don’t think it was on purpose or whatever, but (at) the same time they have apologized. And so from my end I don’t care anymore,” Lin said. “You have to learn to forgive, and I don’t even think that was intentional.”

ESPN apologized to Lin and the Asian-American community for the second time.

“We again apologize, especially to Mr. Lin,” ESPN said Sunday. “His accomplishments are a source of great pride to the Asian-American community, including the Asian-American employees at ESPN.”

The writer was fired because he used the expression Wednesday when he asked Knicks legend Walt “Clyde” Frazier on air about Lin, says The New York Daily News.

“If there is a chink in the armor, where can he improve his game?” Max Bretos asked.

The fired also apologized Saturday, saying he meant no racial reference but would try hard to avoid making the mistake again.

“My wife is Asian, would never intentionally say anything to disrespect her and that community,” Bretos said. “Despite intention, phrase was inappropriate in this context.”

His on-air colleague, Sportscenter anchor Michael Kim, tried to defend Bretos and took to Tweeter.

“I truly believe it was an unfortunate use of words but I KNOW there was no malice there. That came on live TV,” Kim writes.

“Kim was less charitable toward the headline writer, tweeting that “there’s a different thought process involved with scripts/copy and headlines.”

The headline came after the New York Knicks’ seven-game winning streak ended.

“Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin’s 9 Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-stopping Loss to Hornets” appeared on ESPN’s mobile web site at 2:30 a.m. Saturday. It was removed by 3:05 a.m., ESPN said.

A commentator also used the phrase on ESPN Radio New York Friday, the network said. That commentator was not an ESPN employee and could not be disciplined.

“If we all got fired for our mistakes, we’d all lose our jobs,” Ronald Alexander Kemp said. “I don’t wanna be calling for his head.”

Linsanity – the story about the only Asian American in the NBA becoming an overnight superstar – was criticized by several mass media, but ESPN’s headline was the worst.

Lin, a Harvard graduate, has come out of nowhere to lead the Knicks to respectability during the past few weeks.

Denis Amparo, White Plains, considered that ESPN overreacted.  “They should have thought more about it,” he said.

However, there are people who supported ESPN’s decision. “It was pretty ridiculous. At least they’re taking the right steps,” said Brian Vescio from West Nyack, N.Y.

“I guess the public gets what it wants,” said Kelli Maass from Highland Mils, N.Y. “Someone has to take the fall,” said one fan. “That’s life.”

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