- (Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar)
Last week's ESPN Jeremy Lin "chink" headline caused huge controversy over its racist tones, and resulted in the headline writer being fired. However the former ESPN employee responsible for posting the epithet has now spoken out in his defense, calling the incident an "honest mistake."
The Jeremy Lin "chink" headline was originally said on-air by ESPN employee Max Bretos. After the New York Knicks lost to the New Orleans Hornets, Bretos said, "If there is a chink in the armor, where can Lin improve his game?"
While Bretos was suspended, Anthony Federico, the ESPN editor who posted the comment as a headline, was fired.
"I'm so sorry that I offended people. I'm so sorry if I offended Jeremy," Federico told The Daily News.
"Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin's 9 Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-Stopping Loss to Hornets," was the offending headline. Many couldn't believe that "chink" was used to describe the Taiwanese-American Lin when it is a known racial slur for Chinese and Asians.
Federico, who posted the headline at 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning before heading home, was "devastated" not only because he unintentionally insulted Lin, but because he slighted a fellow "outspoken Christian."
"My faith is my life," Federico explained to The Daily News. "I'd love to tell Jeremy what happened and explain that this was an honest mistake."
The "honest mistake" cost Federico his job, and Bretos was suspended for 30 days.
"My wife is Asian, I would never intentionally say anything to disrespect her and that community," tweeted Bretos apologetically.
There had been some backlash from critics about the firing of Federico. Even Lin himself has said the post was probably accidental and not intentionally racist, and he has urged forgiveness.
"[ESPN] apologized, and so from my end, I don't care anymore," said the point guard. "You have to learn to forgive, and I don't even think that was intentional."
Palash R. Ghosh, an Asian-American reporter for the International Business Times, said ESPN needs to distinguish between actual prejudices and unfortunate colloquialisms.
"I am not the least bit 'offended' by what ESPN did," wrote Ghosh in a Sunday article. "We need to make a distinction between intentional, malicious racial hatred and something like this - they are light years apart."