ESPN apologized for and dismissed the writer who wrote a headline about New York Knicks' star Jeremy Lin using the word "chink," an ethnic slur, and also suspended an anchor who used the same offensive word in a question.
"At ESPN we are aware of three offensive and inappropriate comments made on ESPN outlets during our coverage of Jeremy Lin," the sports network said in a statement Sunday, the day Lin led the Knicks to a 104-97 victory that ended the Dallas Mavericks' six-game winning streak.
The ESPN headline, which was up for 35 minutes Saturday morning before being removed, read, "Chink in the Armor," following the New York Knicks' loss to the New Orleans Hornets Friday night. The headline appeared on the mobile sites formatted for phones and tablets, and not the main ESPN website.
The sports network also suspended for 30 days ESPN anchor Max Bretos for asking the question, "If there is a chink in the armor, where can Lin improve his game?" The same word was used for a third time on ESPN Radio New York, but "the radio commentator is not an ESPN employee," ESPN said.
The word "chink" is used as a disparaging term for a person of Chinese birth or descent. The word also means a narrow opening, and the phrase "chink in one's armor" refers to a small but fatal weakness. It was offensive because Lin is the first American-born NBA player of Taiwanese descent.
"The incidents were separate and different. We have engaged in a thorough review of all three," the ESPN statement said. "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."
Lin, who uses Facebook and Twitter to communicate with his fans, has not responded to the referencing.
After the Sunday's win, the overnight basketball sensation who openly talks about his Christian faith, said, "Looking back, it's like I was watching them win the championship last year, and that's obviously where this team wants to go," The Associated Press quoted him as saying. "This is helpful to us, not just to me but to us, just to be able to see where our team can go and what we can become, and I think that's the biggest takeaway from tonight."
Lin's family attends Redeemer Bible Fellowship, the English ministry of Chinese Church in Christ Mountain View, in the Silicon Valley. His pastor, Stephen Chen, spoke last week to KQED radio station of northern California. "He (Lin) attempts to play for his God, and to honor Him and glorify Him," explained Chen.
Lin says he's inspired by evangelical football star Tim Tebow. "Actually a lot of inspiration just because (Tebow's) such a polarizing figure but I think the things he says in interviews, his approach to the game is just unbelievable and I respect him so much," Lin told 95.7 The Game recently. "I want to be able to do some of the things that he does in terms of the amount of charity work and the nonprofit work, and the way he impacts people off the field. I think that is what is most inspiring to me about him."
Lin's Facebook page carries Romans 5:3-5 under his personal information, reading, "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." It also features Colossians 3:23, which reads, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."
Lin recently spoke about how God's word helps him overcome tough times. "The Bible talks a lot about how God takes bad situations and tough situations and he teaches us and he uses those times of suffering to draw us closer to him and that's what I try to focus on during those times," he said during an interview with GoodTV, a Taiwanese evangelical Christian channel, last week.