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Jeremy Lin, Not Just Another "Chink" In The Armor - ESPN's Error In Judgement
The New York Knicks Asian born point guard has become an overnight sensation, his rise to stardom coming after just his first few games as a starter in the NBA. Much of the hype has been related to his play, averaging well over 20 points per game in his first few games as a starter, but his race also plays a big role in all the attention he has been getting. The NBA has spent millions on trying to expand to Asian, and specifically Chinese markets, and Asian fans are embracing Lin as a superhero, that looks just like "one of us".
Nobody can take anything away from Lin for his accomplishments to date, his numbers in his first five starts are more than just impressive, he is the only player to average more than 20 points and 7 assists per game since the NBA merged with the ABA in 1976. Since then we have seen great point guards like Steve Nash, and Jason Kidd, neither of whom started with as much statistical success as Jeremy Lin.
Since the hype began, fans have coined the phrase "Lin-sanity", leaving writers and journalists scrambling to come up with the newest play on words, somewhat of a competition of "Lin-guistics". David Letterman, as well as other late night TV hosts have had their own fun with it, with their top ten lists, and jokes and puns involving Jeremy Lin's last name.
Unfortunately ESPN took things a little too far, by printing a headline about Lin being a "Chink" in the amour of the New York Knicks. The derogatory remark used to describe Asians is certainly not appropriate for use in print or on Television, however in this case, used in this context, it is highly unlikely it was meant to be offensive. That being said, ignorance is no excuse, and the fact that it is offensive to many is something that should have been a little more obvious to ESPN.
They did the right thing by offering an apology for the headline that appeared on their website for almost 30 minutes, and the comments also made by one of their anchormen on television. Their decision to fire an employee over the issue does come across as nothing more than an attempt to deflect the blame, by finding a scapegoat. After all, it takes more than 1 person to run a website like ESPN, unlike a personal blog, there are teams of editors that should have picked up on this before it was published.
ESPN could have showed a little more class by accepting some responsibility, instead of using one writer as a scapegoat. The story is likely not going to die here, as there might be a strong case for wrongful dismissal. After all, the expression "chink in the armor", is a legitimate term used in the English language, that has nothing to do with racism. Any idea that this is a racist or derogatory remark aimed at Lin or any other Asian is pure speculation, and it would be very difficult to prove. While the comment was in poor taste, it hardly seems like something that would hold up in court as a fire-able offense?
So what does Jeremy Lin think of the comments? He doesn't seem to be too concerned about it, he said “I don’t think it was on purpose or whatever, but they have apologized and so from my end I don’t care anymore.” Hopefully we can look forward to more stories about Jeremy Lin's play, and less talk about his Asian American background, there are definitely a large number of sceptics that don't believe that he can live up to all the hype. We wish him luck in proving the critics wrong.
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