Sports network giant ESPN apologized Saturday morning for using a racial slur to describe new basketball sensation Jeremy Lin on its mobile website.
ESPN ran the headline “Chink in the Armor” after Lin suffered his first defeat as a starter Friday evening when his team, the New York Knicks, lost to the New Orleans Hornets.
Lin is the first American born player of Chinese or Taiwanese decent to play in the National Basketball Association, and is among the few Asian Americans to ever play in the league. The Harvard graduate has come out of obscurity to become the talk of the sports world by leading the Knicks to a 7-1 record since becoming the team’s starting point guard.
Because of his emergence, Asian Americans groups have expressed concern over stereotypes emerging around Lin’s story.
ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys issued a statement Saturday morning, expressing regret.
“Last night, ESPN.com’s mobile web site posted an offensive headline referencing Jeremy Lin at 2:30 am ET,” he said. “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.”
Update: ESPN has fired the employee who placed the controversial headline up.
Kevin Ota, the director of communications in digital media for ESPN, issued a statement Sunday morning.
“We again apologize, especially to Mr. Lin,” Ota said. “His accomplishments are a source of great pride to the Asian-American community, including the Asian-American employees at ESPN.”
ESPN Anchor Max Bretos, who used the same term in an interview with Knicks legend Walt Frazier, has been suspended by the network for 30 days.