Skip to main content

ESPN fires writer of offensive headline about Jeremy Lin

By the CNN Wire Staff
February 20, 2012 -- Updated 1302 GMT (2102 HKT)
Jerermy Lin falls during a game between the New York Knicks and the New Orleans Hornets in New York on Friday.
Jerermy Lin falls during a game between the New York Knicks and the New Orleans Hornets in New York on Friday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: "I don't think it was on purpose," Lin says
  • The headline was posted after the Knicks' loss
  • The network suspended an anchor who used the phrase
  • It has apologized to Jeremy Lin and to the Asian -American community

(CNN) -- ESPN has fired the employee responsible for writing an offensive headline about basketball sensation Jeremy Lin and suspended an anchor who used the same ethnic slur, the sports network said Sunday.

The headline read "Chink in the Armor," referencing the New York Knicks' 89-85 loss Friday night to the New Orleans Hornets that ended the team's season-high winning streak.

The phrase has two meanings; one is an ethnic slur.

Lin, 23, came off the bench earlier this month to guide the Knicks to win after improbable win. The unlikely star of Taiwanese descent quickly turned into a global brand and "Linsanity" became the phrase of the times.

'SNL' makes light of Lin headlines
Bissinger: ESPN headline offensive
Jeremy Lin's lessons for success
Letterman lists worst Lin puns

The ESPN headline Saturday morning was up for 35 minutes before being removed, but the damage was done. The network apologized Saturday and said it was "engaged in a thorough review."

It also apologized for a question ESPN anchor Max Bretos asked Wednesday night: "If there is a chink in the armor, where can Lin improve his game?"

The network said Sunday that a third reference was made on ESPN Radio New York on Friday.

"The incidents were separate and different," ESPN said in a statement Sunday. "We have engaged in a thorough review of all three."

Lin addressed the controversy during a news conference Sunday following the Knicks' 104-97 win over the Dallas Mavericks, the defending national champions. He said he did not think the headline was intentional.

"I don't think it was on purpose," Lin said. "At the same time, they've apologized. I don't care anymore."

ESPN said the writer of the headline that appeared on the network's mobile website has been dismissed. Bretos has been suspended for 30 days. The radio commentator was not an ESPN employee.

"We again apologize, especially to Mr. Lin," ESPN said. "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," ESPN said.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 1138 GMT (1938 HKT)
Click through our gallery of the most dramatic moments from the world of sport.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1606 GMT (0006 HKT)
Whisper it quietly, but after years of foreign domination the prospect of a French winner of the Tour de France is more than just a mere pipe dream.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
Seven years ago Steve Way was a 20 per day smoker and weighed a hefty 104 kg, but he led the marathon at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
After just one day of competition, a new sport has emerged at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow: snapping selfies with the Queen.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2048 GMT (0448 HKT)
Inspirational cyclist Joanna Rowsell added another gold to her growing collection in the individual pursuit at the Commonwealth Games.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 0404 GMT (1204 HKT)
At the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, an actor upstaged the Queen by kissing a male dancer.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Of course not. But former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed seems to think the removal of Michael Jackson's statue was a very "bad" idea.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1636 GMT (0036 HKT)
Second-tier French side Clermont Foot appoint Helena Costa -- the country's first ever professional female coach of a male team.
April 25, 2014 -- Updated 1733 GMT (0133 HKT)
The All Blacks and their fans are focused on one thing, says Dan Carter: becoming the first rugby nation to win back-to-back World Cups.
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 1308 GMT (2108 HKT)
The 2002 bomb attacks in Bali had many victims -- including a touring rugby team from Hong Kong.
Photographer Danny Lyon spent three days with Muhammad Ali in 1972 and shares his best photos and memories of the champ.
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 1254 GMT (2054 HKT)
With a growing audience boosted by the drama of ice hockey on show in Sochi at the Winter Olympics, can the sport capitalize on its popularity?
January 20, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
Her paintings may sell for thousands of dollars, but she is best known for a modeling shot 50 years ago that helped launch a business empire.
ADVERTISEMENT