Use of a clumsy-at-best, racist-at-worst reference to New York Knicks hoopster Jeremy Lin by ESPN journalists have resulted in the firing of a headline writer and the suspension of an anchor. The journalists both used the same racially insensitive cliche to describe poor play by Lin, who is of Taiwanese descent.
CNN reports ESPN fired an employee who wrote a headline using the slur on a story highlighting Lin’s contributions to a Knicks loss. An ESPN anchor asked a question with the same words, and someone on one of the company’s radio shows — who is not a company employee — also went there. ESPN says it reviewed the incidents before meting out its decisions.
Here’s an excerpt from its apology:
“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. Through self-examination, improved editorial practices and controls, and response to constructive criticism, we will be better in the future.”
Although it’s inexcusable that the cliche was used in the first place, hopefully ESPN’s reaction will help eliminate it from the sports journalism lexicon.