- "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
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.
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.