If you refer to a Chinese and Taiwanese basketball player as a “chink” in your ESPN headline — or worse, use “chink in the armor” to describe the performance of the Chinese and Taiwanese guy’s team on the air — what do you do?
“I’m sorry” is a good start, because hey, sometimes unfortunate homonyms like “chink” or phrases with racist undertones like “shucking and jiving” become commonplace and get used harmlessly in harmful situations. It happens. What you should not do next is say “I am a great Christian!” or “my wife is Asian” as an excuse, because you are the dumb guy who forgot he couldn’t use “chink” when talking about a f**king Chinese guy.
First up is ESPN editor Anthony Federico, the man who started this all with his CHINK IN THE ARMOR headline and who isn’t afraid to whip out a meme in his apology:
He said he has used the phrase “at least 100 times” in headlines over the years and thought nothing of it when he slapped it on the Lin story.
Federico called Lin one of his heroes – not just because he’s a big Knicks fan, but because he feels a kinship with a fellow “outspoken Christian.”
“My faith is my life,” he said. “I’d love to tell Jeremy what happened and explain that this was an honest mistake.”
“It’s unfortunate that I said Kareem Abdul-Jabbar n**ger-lipped that cigar, but we’re both Sunni Muslims so I think he’d understand.” Sounds kinda stupid when you type it like that, doesn’t it?
Even worse is what I like to call the Judd Winick Defense, courtesy of anchor Max Bretos:
Bretos, too, said he didn’t think of the slur Wednesday when he asked Knicks legend Walt (Clyde) Frazier about Lin on the air.
“If there is a chink in the armor, where can he improve his game?” Bretos asked.
The moment passed almost entirely without notice. A video replay suggests Bretos was not trying to be funny but made a poor choice of colloquialism. He tweeted his apologies Saturday, saying he meant no racial reference but would be extra-careful in the future.
“My wife is Asian, would never intentionally say anything to disrespect her and that community,” Bretos wrote.
We get it, but the fact that your wife is Asian has nothing to do with what we’re talking about. You can be racist about Asian people and know Asian people. You can hate gay people and have gay friends. Humanity is a complex animal, and after the 5th grade you’re basically disqualified from using “I’ve met one of these people before” as an excuse. Just apologize for what you said and stop talking.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that Jeremy Lin should show up for his next game in a full suit of medieval jousting armor with his middle fingers in the air.
[via NY Daily News]