Report: Fired ESPN Employee ‘Devastated’ By Uproar Over Offensive Lin Headline

NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — ESPN has fired the employee responsible for an offensive headline about Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin.

The headline Friday, “Chi– in the Armor,” on ESPN’s mobile website was used for a story about a New York loss in which Lin had nine turnovers.

“This had nothing to do with me being cute or punny,” fired editor Anthony Federico told the New York Daily News.

Federico told the paper that it was an “honest mistake.”

“I had a career that I was proud of,” he said. “I’m devastated that I caused a firestorm.”

Lin is the NBA’s first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent. He captivated fans by leading the Knicks to seven straight wins before Friday’s loss.

“ESPN did what they had to do,” said Federico.

In a statement Sunday, ESPN apologized for that headline and said it is aware of two other “offensive and inappropriate” comments. The cable network said a similar reference was made on one of its radio stations, but the commentator is not an ESPN employee.

“I don’t think it was on purpose or whatever, but (at) the same time they have apologized. And so from my end I don’t care anymore,” Lin said after leading the Knicks to a 104-97 win over Dallas on Sunday. “Have to learn to forgive, and I don’t even think that was intentional. Or hopefully not.”

Max Bretos, an ESPNEWS anchor who was suspended for 30 days for using the same phrase, tweeted that he did not intend to show disrespect to Asians.

Please leave your comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • dave cee

    its astonishing that asians are continually treated with such disrespect. if you used the n word to describe an AA player you would be paying with your life practically and being treated as if you were hitler but here, ah no biggie. sure a guy lost a job but the other got a 30 day suspension and the excuses fly. another journalist, a black person, in reference to lin said and i paraphrase “now some woman after the game is going to get 2 inches of pleasure” obvously referring to the sterotype of asians as not being large in certain areas. its disgusting. and no one cares. that jerk should have been fired. but of course he wasnt. do it to someone else you get hammtered.

  • HYH

    Treat people as you want to be treated. Respect. And, consequences need to be the same across the board. Regardless of why he did it, or if it was an honest mistake…….we need to be equally offended by any type of rhetoric that is racist, ignorant, derorgatory, hurtful, biased, discriminatory — against anyone for any reason. WE are the human race. We should all be proud of and for Jeremy Lin. What he’s done for the Knicks alone is good enough for me and if his community and the greater Asian community is happy, and gets to rejoice in Mr. Lin’s accomplishments, let’s be happy for them and with them. It just shouldn’t be so hard.

    • ron alexander

      Hey, I’m hearing what you say but I think your forgetting that as we are human we do make mistakes.It would be nice if we could preform all our tasks perfectly through our daily lives but as someone wiser than we once said “let he who is with out sin cast the first stone!”

  • medic2

    This writer said he was “proud of his career”. When you have a job like that, what you write is open to public scrutiny and you have a responsibility that goes with it. ESPN was correct in acting quickly and decisively in firing Federico.

    • dialtone888

      maybe they wanted to fire him a long time ago, this probably gave them a solid stand on doing it…. just a guess…

  • Al Sharpton Ice Hockey Equipment Inc.

    Political correctness is destroying this country. It is not causing progress as many sugar-coating liberals like to say. I am white and if the headline was anti-that, I may have been annoyed, but would not want someone fired over just an insensitive comment. That’s like getting life in prison or the death penalty for jaywalking. SMH.

    • medic2

      This has nothing to do with “political correctness”. It was simply a racial slur that the writer has to be responsible for. And, to his credit, he did take responsibility for it. But he also had to pay the penalty.

      • ron alexander

        Geez, I sure hope for your sake that you never make a mistake at your job. And if you do, i sure hope you are held to the same standard you propose here!

        • FromApe2Man2Me

          This is more than a simple, innocent mistake. This mistake would be akin to an employee secretly urinating in the parking lot with his willie hanging out being caught by a whole bunch of schoolkids walking by. Maybe he wasn’t trying to be creepy or perverted, but because the overall impression looked bad, his company would fire him. That’s what happened here. The problem is that some white guys, like the posters above, think this crime is merely like jaywalking..Hell no.

          • ron alexander

            dude,get a freak’n life. your comparison is as baseless as your entire thought process. You have no idea what its like to lose your job over an innocent mistake.
            As a christian I believe in forgiveness,but i’m not even sure its even necessary in this case.A suspension with out pay would have been a more fair punishment.
            I’m think’n I dont want to be on a jury with you. Your the guy who would hang someone for jay walking! Light”n up bro!

            • MaxineRocks

              This is the most incredible case of political correctness going out of control. The term c—k in the armor (can’t even type the real word or it won’t post!) goes back to the days of knights and round tables, and simply means what it says – a weakness that can be exploited, a failure. Good grief!!

              Political Correctness is tyranny with manners.
              – Charlton Heston

  • Joe

    I would like to respond to all those who think too much is being made over this phrase. The fact that ESPN chose to use a picture of a Chinese athlete (who lost that evening’s game) and then use the unfortunate phrase is no coincidence. It was a deliberate use of a vicious racial slur to be humorous or clever. Anyone who believes otherwise is either hopelessly naive or an outright bigot. (And there are a number on this site.)

    That anyone can say that this is a simple expression and has no racial overtones would be true enough in a different context. (Though anyone who is racially sensitive to their fellow human beings would, I think,like to avoid using this phrase). However, the author of this piece is clearly playing on the racial background of the athlete and, perhaps, thinks like so many on this site that there is nothing wrong with this phrase, i.e. it is not taken as a racial slur and so used it to be clever.

    To fire someone over this may seem to some as over-reacting. But people in general have to get the message that this kind of behavior is unacceptable in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society that we live in.

    In this country there are different standards for different racial groups. If you are Black, Hispanic or Jewish, people can and have lost their jobs because of verbal insensitivities. Asians, on the other hand, have not been accorded the same treatment. Humans are humans and all should be treated with dignity and respect. If one loses his job for uttering a racial slur against a particular group, that standard should be applied to all. Even on this site, the anti-Black slur is spelled: “n….r” or the “n” word. But why is the anti-Asian slur spelled out? It, too, is insensitive and should not be spelled out when used as a slur.

    For all those who have no Asian friends, let me state that this is not merely a case of being politically incorrect. It is a simple matter of human decency and treating people as people, not as racial caricatures.

  • m2k

    and here’s the thing. asian racism goes largely uncorrected because people think we’re “honorary-whites”, successful, and thus don’t need the same policing as other(read black and hispanic) ethnicities. non-asians who marry asians don’t do so because they like or understand the ethnicity,,,they do so on a personal, one-to-one basis.

  • Lee

    My parents were born in Canada and I was born in Canada and my kids are born in Canada. As an Asian Canadian, when I hear the word “C–k”, for some reason even today, it makes me feel angry and uncomfortable.
    I have always felt weird when I heard the “c-k in the armour comment” all the time.
    I agree totally that if there was a headline using the “n” word, African American’s would be outraged as well.
    This isn’t about being politically incorrect. That word is a hurtful word, just like the “n” word if you are African American.

    • m2k

      canadiens are more racist than redneck america.

  • m2k

    anybody who watches espn knows that their scripted dialogues are well written, witty, and WELL THOUGHT OUT. this was no “honest mistake”. the writer knew EXACTLY what he was writing. he was just too stupid to see where it would lead. getting fired was what he deserved because the asian community deserves the same protection that so far has only been reserved for the black and hispanic communities.

    • FromApe2Man2Me

      I agree. I don’t think the mistake was as “honest” as he stated. I think he is trying to salvage his reputation so he can land a future job in the industry. If he full on admitted that he was trying to be funny and simply didn’t realize the damage he would be causing, he would never be hired again by any large, public media gigs.

  • jo

    The MOST hidden racist in America are those individuals married to Asians. These individuals married Asians to find out what Asians are all about. The are the first people who can Identify Asian Flaws and weaknessess and more than Willing to make this type of revelation to their OWN kind and RACE. MAX Bretos should have been fired not just suspended. We need to stop this racial profiling in this country. Jeremy Lin almost did not get this opportunity because of this type of discrimination. He was locked in his room for many years in tears and asking the question Why this is happening to him in this country??? Almost given up NBA basketball. Many fans and commentators said that Jeremy Lin looks slower than how he moves the ball in the court. This is obvious racial stereotyping and profiling suggesting that Asians are slower than other RAce in the NBA simply because of the Way they look. And there is this african american person that mentioned some joke about Asians private part referring to Lin. For everyones Sake and Goodness and to continue more of this Type of Lin-entainment, progress and improvement in this country we need to get rid of this Folks in the Media who shows signs of Racial discrimination.

    • J

      I don’t agree with this at all. You’re stereotyping all non-Asians who are married or with Asians. Being one of those persons, I can honestly say that I was very angry at the ESPN headline as well as at some of the posters being displayed by fans at the Garden. The genuine outpouring of support by fans of all races is something that I am proud of and serves as an example of New Yorkers at their best., recognizing Lin for his triumph over difficulties and his contributions to the Knicks. My soon-to-be step-daughters, wife and extending family are rightfully proud of Jeremy Lin who serves as a great role model. I am too.

  • j

    I don’t know… we don’t know what was said in the internal hearing.
    If the employees reaction was “C’mon, it was funny” then I can see firing him.
    If the reaction was “Bloody hell, it never even occurred to me it could be interpreted as a slur”, then suspending them for poor editing skills would seem more appropriate,

    • FromApe2Man2Me

      Why take that chance if you are ESPN? There are tons of up and coming editors who could easily do this guy’s job without making that type of hopefully careless mistake. Keeping this guy would just lower ESPN’s PR. Firing him shows that ESPN takes this mistake seriously, which gives ESPN better PR, especially for the extremely large Asian-American constituency in America.

  • P.J.

    It is totally ridiculous that this guy lost his job over this mistake. It is unbelievable how sensative we have become as a society. It is always so easy just to say fire the guy without giving someone the benefit of the doubt. He apologized and said that it was not meant intentionally. If he did this on purpose than obviously he should be removed however he didn’t then shame on us.

    • FromApe2Man2Me

      It’s just as bad if he didn’t do it on purpose because that shows he lacks communication sense and sociological awareness, which are absolutely mandatory for editors working in the public media. So he is either fired for being racist or fired for being ignorant. Either way, he had to be fired.

  • Sc24

    (Phillyjimi). Yes im African American and from the deep south were the color of the skin matters to people I work and see it everyday but it doesn’t bother me . What Lin has accomplished let it be i don’t care what color you are when you succeed accomplishments shouldn’t be a color changer I don’t see color I see a human anything . Everybody isn’t cut from the same cloth. Did it bother me what was do I approve of it no but everyone doesn’t feel the same as I do said no but at the end of the day everybody sees different feels different so it is what it is.

  • Jimmy

    In the 50’s and 60’s, there were races who weren’t allowed to sit on public buses in America. That’s not too long ago. Bottom line is there is NO ROOM for any racism whatsoever. Unfortunately, if you’re a “Federico” you are attached to those who set the rules in the 50’s and 60’s. It will take a long time before those horrific times are forgotten. Something to think about for those whining about losing freedom of speech. Thank your forefathers for making your people live by different standards.Your freedom of speech isn’t a liberty when your people practiced slavery for hundreds of years.

  • Howard

    I saw a picture of Lin’s face inside of a fortune cookie pre game ESPN . Thought that was weird ?

  • Gary

    An honest mistake is not a valid excuse, when you work for a corporation such as Disney which owns ESPN. All tHe had to do was think twice before putting that headline out. No matter he’ll get a job for Fox News where they welcome those mistakes.

    • LiberalsRDopes

      The angry, liberal

    • howard beck

      i’m sure that you also want every liberal fired that makes an insensitve comment. but then again there wouldn’t be any left on the air or in the press if that happened

  • Michael Kane

    If you think that remark was a mistake you’re nuts. He probably stayed up all night trying to come up with some cute way to incorporate Lin’s heritage with his turnover ratio.

  • Fed Up With The Whitney Houston PITY PARTY!!


    • GaryTheAngryLiberal

      Know what would be “so refreshing”? If you stopped typing in caps…

  • Ralph Anthony Rags Morales

    Evan Roberts makes a good point. ESPN said the same thing in a headline during the Beijing Olympics, and people got canned. Given that, and the fact that headlines are by design double entendre, where you come up with something catchy and clever and you take time to THINK about it, there’s no excuse for it. Appropriate response to this situation.

  • lawmsh

    This rush to judge for unintentional mistakes is PC at its worst. I think people who want to punish for honest mistakes are really doing it to make themselves feel better for the guilt they fell for their own prejudices.

    • Joe

      When this editor posted a picture of a Chinese-American followed by the unfortunate caption, what do you think he was trying to convey? Do you think he would have used the same caption if it was a Black or Hispanic player?

      It would be terribly naive on your part if you thought it was so. That offensive term is used to embarrass, humiliate and offend Asians and Chinese in particular. He was trying to be racially clever or racistly clever.

      Is it too much to ask people to act with some decency towards their fellow Americans who may not look like them? Look at the SNL sketch this past weekend. It was humorous, made a point about prejudice and stereotypes in America and all without being offensive. This fellow crossed the line – and he knew what he was doing.

  • JohnOp

    Honest mistake! The guy does not deserve to be fired. I am african american and even I can see the hypocrisy in this. ESPN is out of control.

    • NYMetsFan

      If he used the “N” word would you feel the same way? Racism is racism. No matter which group you single out. Why does this have to be a race issue? Why can’t if be about a guy having an amazing run? If what matters most is that he is asian then that is racist.

    • PhillyJimi

      Not sure exactly why being an “African American” gives your opinion special weight?

      Also not seeing the so called hypocrisy. Considering the majority of players in the NBA are African surely the NBA is the last place African Americans can complain about being being excluded due to race.

      I understand why ESPN (which is a world wide brand), doesn’t want to offend potential new Asian advertisers. Sometimes Americans forget there actually is a world beyond the borders of America.

  • Sven

    Nice job white man trying to play games on the comment area. Just like the guys on pathetic…

  • Py

    This is typical liberal, politically correct bs gone wild, with some double-standards on the side (first comment by Lou is absolutely spot-on) . Welcome to America 2012, where all speech is regulated and censored and everyone has a right to be offended.

    • PhillyJimi

      ESPN isn’t America! I don’t remember voting them into office and in control of my free speech. ESPN has a world wide audience not just an American audience. Considering China and Asia is a vast market it doesn’t make “good old school conservative pro-business” sense to insult over 1 billion people with an offensive racial slander.

      Of course your “liberal” stance of wanting to tell a private business what they can and can’t do surly runs against the proper conservative mantra of letting a business do what it wants without the government sticking it’s nose in where it doesn’t belong. ESPN made it’s own decision it wasn’t the government/America putting pressure on them to do so and thank goodness for that! ESPN was worshiping at the free market altar of common sense.

      Too often I see comments, that are just very lame attempts to blame something on the “liberals” or the “right”. When you do so you’re acting just like a parrot repeating whatever you heard from your talking heads in the media.

  • Lou

    Interesting. This guy gets fired, but Jason Whitlock gets to keep his job after that “couple inches of pain” remark he made about Lin on Twitter a week ago. Wonder what could be the difference between Whitlock and this guy that he gets to keep his job and this guy Federico gets fired? HMMMMMM?

    …and btw, not defending Federico, glad he’s fired. Just think that idiot Whitlock should’ve been too. But that’s the double-standard we live with in America….

    • Sven

      Yeah, its pretty obvious. National reporters have much more weight than no-name mobile site editors. Its one of the perks , but of course fame should not be a license to do whatever.

    • Gary

      Jason gets to keep his job because he works at FOX . you can be as ignorant as you want at FOX.

      • GaryTheAngryLiberal

        Liberalism is a mental, disorder

    • PhillyJimi

      Whitlock is a obvious racist. It boils down to what Fox wants and what ESPN wants. Fox supports a political position and it isn’t unbiased news. Now in this monkey see monkey do would, I am not sure the news on any network has anything to do with the news anymore.

  • Gerard Belluscio

    That’s the problem with America as a society now, we are becoming a society where you are not allowed to make a mistake a mistake anymore. This has nothing to do with insensitivity or racism. I hope the employee sues ESPN for wrongful termnation.

    • i agree

      to me, this was a case of and uneducated corporate american company reacting to a few people that may have complained about a perceived insult.

  • Mike

    Ridiculous. I’m Asian and I can easily see it was an honest mistake. He should not have been fired, and ESPN are cowards for doing so. If we get to the point when people aren’t even allowed to use the English language, then we’re finished as a society.

  • Chuck

    I was initially upset with the remark, but in retrospect, he probably made a stupid mistake, and racism was not his intent. Reprimand him, have him personally apologize to Lin and move on. I think we all make stupid mistakes that we regret and that was not intended to hurt others. Firing someone for a stupid mistake may be a little too much. I am sure Lin would not want that and expect him to try to reach out to ESPN or the guy. BTW, I am Asian as well.

  • Tommy2cat

    I dunno. Culturally insensitive remark? Yup. Should he be suspended? Probably. Fired? Too much. It would be wise to encourage the body public both to forgive others for a stray errant remark, as well as develop a thick skin and allow ignorance to speak for itself. No need to go over the top and banish someone for a stupid, but relatively benign mistake.

  • kwyjibo

    “This had nothing to do with me being cute or punny,” fired editor Anthony Federico told the New York Daily News.

    No but it had to do with you being stupid. He may not be a racist, but it’s 2012, if he couldn’t find anything wrong with what he initially printed, there’s probably something wrong with him..

    • Blasterific

      And you too, get some vowels in your name. A S S muncher.

      • Robert

        it’s a Simpsons reference. Simmer down

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