An ESPN anchor suspended for using a racially-loaded term in reference to Knicks phenom Jeremy Lin defended himself on Twitter today, as the network sacked another employee for using the phrase in a headline on its website. “My wife is Asian, would never intentionally say anything to disrespect her and that community,” Anchor Max Bretos tweeted. “Wanted 2 apologize 2 all those I have upset. Not done with any racial reference. Despite intention, phrase was inappropriate in this context.”
That phrase was “Chink in the armor,” a term Bretos used on air following Lin’s poor performance during the Knicks’ loss to the lowly New Orleans Hornets Friday. Bretos was suspended 30 days, and a writer who used the same phrase in a headline on ESPN’s mobile site was fired; The network did not release that employee’s name.
While it can refer to a weakness, the phrase is also a racial slur against Asians. Lin, a California native of Chinese descent, is the first Asian-American to start an NBA game and has become an international sensation since the previously-unknown player exploded off the bench and led the Knicks on a seven-game winning streak.
“I don’t think it was on purpose or whatever, but (at) the same time they have apologized. And so from my end I don’t care anymore,” Lin said after leading the Knicks to a 104-97 win over Dallas today. “Have to learn to forgive, and I don’t even think that was intentional. Or hopefully not.”
ESPN called the phrase “offensive and inappropriate” in a statement today.
“We again apologize, especially to Mr. Lin,” ESPN wrote. “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.”
SMH. He’s photographed above with his half-Asian baby.