Archived Story

Watch what you say ESPN

Published 5:56am Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tim Tebow became a national sensation and an NFL phenomenon this winter with his unorthodox quarterbacking style and improbable winning streak with the Denver Broncos.

He spawned hatred, jealousy and an end zone move for young kids, but he never seemed to be out of the media while he made this run.

Fast-forward to the NBA basketball season — what season there is, anyway —, and pro basketball has come up with its own underdog story and phenomenon in the form of Jeremy Lin.

He basically road pine for eight years before shining like a star in his second full game with the New York Knicks this season.

He didn’t spawn an end zone pose; he made people use his name to make plays on words.

My favorite is Linsanity, which is a great way to sum up his current run with the Knicks, which is very improbable to say the least.

ESPN went too far recently by using a racial slur — albeit possibly unintentionally, err… uninLintentionally — to describe how New York was no longer winning every game with Lin on the starting five.

ESPN used the phrase “a chink in the armor” to describe the Knicks first loss after Linsanity took off, a common phrase used often by the sports network. This time, however, the focus has been on Lin, who is of Chinese ancestry. This means the phrase, again maybe unintentional, constituted a racial slur.

The writer who put together the words on the graphic was fired. This is a perfect CYA response by ESPN, but this may be too harsh a punishment, especially if the person didn’t mean any malice by the phrase.

Even so, the person should have had a thought process catch what he wrote before it was aired.

I’m not sure what I would do if I was put in the shoes of the ESPN big wigs, but there decision to can the writer will surely be met with mixed reviews. My brother thinks the entire event has been thrown out of proportion and critics and everyone at ESPN has overreacted to a simple phrase being misconstrued.

No matter what the case was, the writer will most likely never find work with ESPN ever again.

A simple five-letter word meaning an imperfection in metal cost this person a job.

I would imagine that the guy or girl meant nothing by it, but still someone should have caught the possible dual meaning of the phrase before it aired.



J.R. Tidwell is sports editor for The Franklin County Times. He can be reached at (256) 332-1881, ext. 31.

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