The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

ESPN’s racial slur seems deliberate

The headline on the ESPN.com story of Jeremy Lin’s nine turnovers leading to a New York Knicks loss read, “Chink in the armor.” Not a crack in the armor.

Not a cleft in the armor.

A chink.

Editor Anthony Federico, who ESPN swiftly fired over the incident, told the New York Daily News, “This had nothing to do with being cute or punny. I’m so sorry I offended people. I’m so sorry I offended Jeremy.”

I don’t care about basketball. Friends will tell you I’m insane, but I’m not Linsane, and, as a hockey fan, I haven’t read an ESPN article in years. I’m not talking about any of these things. I’m talking about accountability in journalism.

This headline wasn’t an honest mistake. It was malicious.

Honest mistakes do happen. Just last week, The Collegian almost published “intenstity” in a headline.

Last semester, we did publish (I did. It was my story.) that a professional group wasn’t qualified to perform tasks they do every day. That was completely false. My mistake violated the essence of journalism, which is to spread truth, and were I not a student, it could have had me fired as fast as Federico.

But mine was an honest mistake. When speaking to hurt a group, one doesn’t claim something every member of that group knows isn’t true.

“Chink in the armor: Jeremy Lin’s 9 turnovers cost the Knicks in streak-stopping loss to Hornets.” Not a hole, not a gap, a chink.

This isn’t just an instance of a racially charged word being used around someone of the corresponding race.

The way that sentence is structured, Jeremy Lin is the chink in the Knicks’ armor. Not the breach or tear in their armor, the chink in it.

The implication is that the rest of the Knicks’ armor, their other players, are not chinks, and Lin was the fatal flaw in an otherwise iron defense that the Hornets exploited to fell their enemy.

The truth is, headline writers look for double meanings like these. A good joke in a headline can add dramatically to a story. Whoever wrote this headline and probably whoever approved it (Federico was probably the latter) knew exactly what they were doing.

I can only conclude they did it with malice.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian