The fact I even have to write this post is ticking me off. I had just slept in for the first time in ages feeling pretty good, that is until I checked my Twitter timeline.
Before I went to bed last night I knew the Knicks had lost their first game with their point guard Jeremy Lin. What I didn’t know about was the headline from ESPN’s mobile site:
“A Chink in the Armor.”
Seriously ESPN? I thought you were the world wide leader in sports. Did someone just transport me back to my childhood?
The term “chink” is about as offensive as it gets for Asians. Growing up in the south side of Chicago in the late 1970′s I heard it often along with “ching-chong,” “jap” and the mimicking of slanted eyes. It was inappropriate then as it is now.
Decades later we have 3-D TV’s and carry smart phones that can do just about everything from functioning as a camera and game center to an audible digital personal assistant. Yet we can’t progress as humans and as professional journalists to where we aren’t using derogatory nicknames to describe what we all are – Americans.
Some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple of inches of pain tonight.
Then again maybe I shouldn’t have. Projecting your own short comings, Mr. Whitlock? He offered up his best attempt at an apology. Take it for what you will.
I guess those at ESPN didn’t want to be outdone by a columnist at FoxSports so that was the headline they came up with.
Of course ESPN sent out the obligatory “Oops, sorry.”
Last night, ESPN.com’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.
Because it wasn’t enough to see the slander visually we heard it audibly, too.
Max Bretos, an anchor at ESPN during his interview with basketball great, Walt Frazier, used the same inappropriate phrasing.
The unofficial word is an intern is to blame for the mobile site gaff. Yes, it was 2:30 a.m. and yes it was only up there for 35 minutes. But it was up and live long enough for people to notice and take screen shots. Once it’s out there on the internet it’s out there forever.
I’d imagine some resemblance of an editorial chain of command was in place. I find it hard to believe this was an honest mistake. I’d also like to believe no one is really that clueless as to the nature of the word, chink. (There has been no official explanation from ESPN for Mr. Bretos’ poor choice of words.)
My young children act out when they feel like they are no longer the center of attention. Maybe that was the case for Mr. Whitlock and some at ESPN. At least we’re talking about them and their page hits are up, right?
I guess negative attention is better than no attention at all.
Update at 11:45 a.m.: Official statement from Kevin Ota, Director of Communications, Digital Media ESPN Communications @ESPNKevinO
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.