Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin has been having the greatest few weeks ever: he's led the Knicks in a seven-game winning streak, inspired a rash of terrible New York Post headlines, and has most likely been asked to autograph more naked boobs in the past ten days than you've ever seen on RedTube. Yet a mere several hours after the New Orleans Hornets brought the Knicks' winning streak to a close Friday night with an 89-85 victory, ESPN decided to kick Lin — who committed nine turnovers during the game — while he was down by running the story with the appallingly racially insensitive headline, "Chink in the Armor." Which, given Lin's Asian-American background, is quite frankly just a Lin-tolerable Lin-stance of Lin-gregious Lin-gorance (whatever, internet. Don't go rolling your eyes at me. 'Cause I'm sure you could do sooooo much better). 

According to Jim Romensko's blog, ran the headline (above) at around 2:30 a.m. on their mobile website and Scorecenter app. Because the term "chink" has historically been used as a slur against people of Asian descent, night owl Twitter users and sports bloggers promptly flipped out over the headline until an editor removed it thirty-five minutes later, at 3:05 a.m. On Saturday morning, ESPN's Director of Communications Kevin Ota posted a statement apologizing for the headline. "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," Ota said.

This is not the first time that a major media outlet has run a racially insensitive headline with a story on Jeremy Lin: earlier this week, the New York Post ran "AMASIAN" as a backpage headline after Lin scored a game-winning shot in Toronto, and recently MSG Network ran a photo of a cracked fortune cookie with Lin's face and the message "The Knicks Good Fortune" superimposed on top of it. It's also, remarkably, not the first time that ESPN has run the headline with a story about Asian-American athletes, with sports bloggers pointing out that the website also caught flak for using the same headline in a 2008 story on the U.S. men's basketball team in China.

So here's a thought, American sportswriters: when composing headlines on the accomplishments of Asian-American athletes, it's Lin-advisable to use Mickey Rooney's character in Breakfast at Tiffany's as a model for thoughtful cultural discourse and racial sensitivity. Just a helpful Lin-t (y'know, like hint?....goddammit, you can't please anyone around here). 

Tags jeremy lin

Commentarium (16 Comments)

Feb 18 12 - 10:17pm
Thank heaven

that they didn't use a gay slur otherwise there would be a call to boycott ESPN. Who gives a fuck? Can't we say what we want anymore without somebody getting there fucking feelings hurt? Grow up, people: not everyone is going to like you or your religion or your race. Deal with it.

Feb 19 12 - 1:22am

You seriously can't see how that might be offensive to some people?

Feb 19 12 - 1:25am

troll harder

Feb 19 12 - 3:18am
Yes, I can

totally see where that would offend some people. So what? Lighten the fuck up. Look at that poor, stupid asshole at CNN. He tweets his opinion about gays and it cost him his job. Free speech isn't about making sure that everybody is happy.

Feb 19 12 - 9:24am

there is free speech, then there is spreading hateful comments that encourage bullying and violence, it wasn't about his opinion. why can't people just be nice with each other? so much ignorance insensitive hate in the world.
re: the headline, yes, it was offensive to Asians/Asian Americans.

Feb 19 12 - 11:21am

Funny how people call on free speech for the most asinine, idiotic comments, yet would see people hanged when they use it to express political views they don't agree with. Never disappoints.

Feb 19 12 - 11:46am

The "right" to "free speech" pertains only to the right to not have the government punish you for unpopular (including racist) speech. That is ALL the First Amendment protects. It does not protect the speaker from being vilified, boycotted, shunned and spoken against by individuals or organizations other than the government. To add to @DDT's point, with which I agree wholeheartedly, it's also the people most ignorant about what the "right" to "free speech" means who seem to bleat on the loudest and most about it, having no actual understanding of the constitution or the source or meaning of the concept.

Feb 20 12 - 1:45pm
free speech...hurrr

Uh, that means I can say whatever I want and no one's allowed to get mad at me, right?

Feb 19 12 - 3:45am

Wouldn't someone or some group of people protesting a racist rant on the #1 Sports website be them expressing their free speech as well? Or does free speech only count for white people? The one thing I hate more than racists are racists who use "free speech" to complain about being called on their shit. Free speech isn't about making everyone happy. But it's not supposed to take sides either.

Feb 19 12 - 10:46am
strodsd the

"Chink in the armor" is one thing; I'm really not sure I see the racism or insensitivity in "amasian" or "the Knicks good fortune."

Feb 19 12 - 3:30pm

Um, it's cos the headline calls attention to the person's race when it's got nothing to do with the article beyond that. It takes a few extra seconds to register that. I apologize on behalf of my race for making anyone show slightly more compassion / respect, costing them a few second's hesitation. I suppose it's a bit much to ask of the HUMAN race these days.

Feb 19 12 - 8:57pm
venient, nernf

Oh puh-lease. His race is *reality* and there's nothing racist or insensitive about including it in an article about him. Why do liberals automatically equate any mention of race with racism?

Feb 19 12 - 11:49am

Just stick to the Lin-sane puns, people.

Feb 19 12 - 10:26pm

While it was definitely linsensitive, it was probably unlintentional.

Feb 21 12 - 11:08am

I can't tell if you are being dislingenuous or merely overly linnocent.

Feb 25 12 - 10:05pm

Um that sports writer uses the phrase "chink in the armour" all the time as a figure of speech, towards players who weren't asian, so I don't think he is being racist at all. Also apparently neither does Lin.