No armor to nick

Don't read too much into perceived epithet against breakout NBA player

  • Follow Editorials

There’s a chink in our armor, alright. Fact is, the armor’s nearly gone.

The fact that an ESPN editor was fired over the weekend for a reckless and potentially offensive headline highlights two big problems:

• First, that the need for speed in today’s media is fraught with peril. Our society has fallen so in love with instant technology – we’ve practically linked Twitter to our brains, so we broadcast the first thing that comes to our heads – that any sense of journalistic standards or even common sense go out the window.

• Second, that we’ve about taken sensitivity to an absurd level in this country.

The ESPN headline, about a sub-par game Friday night by New York Knicks mega-sensation Jeremy Lin, used a common expression – “A chink in the armor” – but at the absolutely wrong time. Lin is the first American-born man of Chinese ancestry to play in the National Basketball Association. And, of course, the term in question has been a racial epithet.

Again, a careful journalist with a moment or two to contemplate matters most likely doesn’t send that headline out.

On the other hand, to borrow an ESPN catch phrase: C’mon man! Does anybody really think the network meant anything by that headline? Why would they rain on Lin’s parade? ESPN has reveled in it as much as anyone.

Here’s a young Harvard graduate, a castoff from other teams and a mere role player until injuries put him in the spotlight, where he has shone. His energy, youth and production have revitalized a moribund New York Knicks team. And his ethnicity is only a matter for pride, particularly in New York’s Chinatown, where broadcasters have gone knocking to get giddy reaction from fans.

Another ESPN anchor was suspended for using the same phrase on air.

The anchor has an Asian wife.

So, really? Someone thinks he was being racist too?

C’mon, man.

The fired editor, Anthony Federico, is said to have been devastated, and has apologized.

A grown-up response would be to accept the apology, suspend him and move on. But America is having a hard time growing up, particularly with regard to race. Real incidents of racism need to be punished, certainly. But was this one of them?

It’d be nice, and even healing, if Lin himself asked that Federico be reinstated.

And if we really did have a little armor on our thin skin.

Comments (14) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 02/22/12 - 12:59 am
2
0
Then again, you have the

Then again, you have the likes of Breitbart and O'Keefe running edited videos that are complete falsehoods to push the race issue to the limit.

carcraft
23689
Points
carcraft 02/22/12 - 06:36 am
0
0
Then again you have people

Then again you have people who, when their arguments lack substance, use the race card!

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 02/22/12 - 08:20 am
1
0
Then again, you have people

Then again, you have people who are really racist and blame the other side of using the race card, when they themselves are the ones who constantly bring up the issue of race.

TParty
6003
Points
TParty 02/22/12 - 09:12 am
0
0
When you have a picture of an

When you have a picture of an Asian with a headline containing a slur for Asians posted- you know it's not going to end well. If you google that word, you'll see the top results are all negative, and relative searches are for more slur jokes and what not.

I'm all for free speech. If you would say that word to the face of an Asian American you didn't know, and feel okay with yourself, then maybe one could argue that is overblown.

writer
202
Points
writer 02/22/12 - 09:24 am
0
0
It isn't just a matter of

It isn't just a matter of "free speech" or really race. ESPN is a business and a business that depends a great deal on the power of words and on public relations. Journalism is a highly competitive arena and hungry young journalists are eager to break into the business. A headline writer made a poor (really stupid) business decision by using a racial slur and he suffered swift consequences. So be it.

Rhetor
978
Points
Rhetor 02/22/12 - 09:30 am
0
0
The ESPN headline was

The ESPN headline was appalling--for bad manners, if nothing else. Put the shoe on the other foot, ACES. Look how unduly sensitive you guys are about words like "t--b----r." If one expects respect, one must show respect. Of course, as long as the right wing continues to endorse open and overt racists (like Rush Limbaugh--have you forgotten "Barack the Magic Negro?" Or Newt with his crack about a "Kenyan world view?") the right wing has no basis to complain about people growing up about race relations. Thanks for the editorial, and have a great day.

dmdawg
0
Points
dmdawg 02/22/12 - 10:40 am
0
0
I had to read this twice to

I had to read this twice to make sure I understood where this was heading. I am Chinese American and never complain about all the racial slurs that are out there. I usually turn the other cheek as do most asians. How often do you see an Asian kid get so much attraction (whether it be sports, academics, etc) then to have a dumb headline such as, "A Chink in the Armor" to describe you. I agree that the person on ESPN should have been fired. I think the editor of this article must be trying to push the envelope too. I understand that it is a play on words, but there are thousands of other terms to be used. If you look at the headlines, how often do you hear the Asian community making an uproar about the "race" card. Would it have been appropriate to have a racial slur to describe a black or white athlete in the headline. I think not. This reminds me of when Rosie ODonnell made a joke about Asians and then the very next day was upset that someone made a joke about the GAY society. What a joke!!!!This subject matter will go nowhere and I wanted to put in my 2 cents. I don't want to put a "Chink in my armor" by being late for my residency.

carcraft
23689
Points
carcraft 02/22/12 - 10:44 am
0
0
Of course you have to balme a

Of course you have to balme a Liberal LA times opinion writer for "Barack the Majic Negro" Limbaugh just had to use it to make a parody. If a liberal does something it must be OK, no double standard here! en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Ehrenstein

Rhetor
978
Points
Rhetor 02/22/12 - 10:50 am
0
0
I'll agree that there was no

I'll agree that there was no excuse for the LA Times article, either. Two wrongs never make a right.

burninater
8675
Points
burninater 02/22/12 - 12:51 pm
1
0
I don't think this is an

I don't think this is an instance of over sensitivity. Would the ACES response have been the same if an African gentleman had won a lumberjack competition and ESPN ran " ****** in the Woodpile"?

itsanotherday1
39366
Points
itsanotherday1 02/22/12 - 01:12 pm
0
0
Not even in the same ballpark

Not even in the same ballpark Burn. A chink in someone's armor has meaning; it is a serious phrase I've heard all of my life with no relationship whatsoever to someone's heritage. It is altogether possible this was an innocent faux paux.

harley_52
21753
Points
harley_52 02/22/12 - 02:45 pm
0
1
Much ado about nothing. The

Much ado about nothing. The Country is paralyzed by political correctness. Freedom of speech had been lost to a bunch of namby pamby liberals with way too much time on their hands and far too little maturity.

Freedom from being offended is not in the Bill of Rights. People should be free to say what they want to say and others should be free to ignore it (or them) if they don't want to hear (or read) it.

raul
3954
Points
raul 02/22/12 - 03:49 pm
0
0
@harley_52. Spot on.

@harley_52. Spot on.

dichotomy
29807
Points
dichotomy 02/22/12 - 10:00 pm
0
0
"The Country is paralyzed by

"The Country is paralyzed by political correctness."

Exactly !

Back to Top

Top headlines

Body found in Lake Thurmond

About 4 p.m., the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office responded to a call that a white male, around 35-years-old, had been found near the Chamberlain's Ferry Boat landing area, according to Lincoln ...
Loading...