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Morning Mail: ESPN editor who was fired for Jeremy Lin headline speaks out on Twitter

Feb 23, 2012, 9:00 AM EDT

Atlanta Hawks v New York Knicks Getty Images

Anthony Federico is the editor who was fired by ESPN for writing a racially insensitive headline in reference to Jeremy Lin last week. You recall of course the “a chink in the armor” headline that went out on ESPN mobile following New York’s loss to the Hornets. It caused quite the kerfuffle. After an initial apology in the New York Daily News, Federico expanded his “guilty, with an explanation” remarks on Twitter on Wednesday. Excerpts:

I wrote the headline in reference to the tone of the column and not to Jeremy Lin’s race. It was a lapse in judgment and not a racist pun. It was an awful editorial omission and it cost me my job.

I owe an apology to Jeremy Lin and all people offended. I am truly sorry.

Actions speak louder than words. My words may have hurt people in that moment but my actions have always helped people. If those who vilify me would take a deeper look at my life they would see that I am the exact opposite of how some are portraying me.

They would see that on the day of the incident I got a call from a friend – who happens to be homeless – and rushed to his aid. He was collapsed on the side of the road due to exposure and hunger. They would see how I picked him up and got him a hotel room and fed him. They would see I used my vacation time last year to volunteer in the orphanages of Haiti. They would see how I ‘adopted’ an elderly Alzheimer’s patient and visited him every week for a year. They would see that every winter I organize a coat drive for those less fortunate in New Haven. They would see how I raised $10,000 for a friend in need when his kids were born four months premature. They would see how I have worked in soup kitchens and convalescent homes since I was a kid. They would see my actions speak louder than my words. They would see that these acts were not done for my glory, but for God’s. They would see that each day I live and will continue to live a life of joy and service.

It is also crucial that people know that the writer of the column had nothing to do with the headline. I wrote it and now I take responsibility for it.

I am actually a Knicks fan and an ardent supporter of Jeremy Lin. Not surprisingly, he has handled the entire situation with grace and class.

Now I have to find a new job and move on with my life.

Lin himself spoke to the issue and said he didn’t think the headline was intentional. And Federico certainly seems sincere. Hopefully things will work out for him.

***
ABOUT LAST NIGHT

What you missed while typing on your pants

Meanwhile, at the Staples Center …

source: Getty Images

At least one Beckham has his priorities right.

***
TODAY IN MARK TRAIL

There is a giant possum alert for the greater Lost Forest area.

  1. koufaxmitzvah - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    It’s too bad this happened to him. He definitely shouldn’t have lost his job; a week suspension to think about it would have more than enough. And obviously he is somebody who does a lot of thinking.

    The idea is to learn from our mistakes, not be branded by them.

    • skids003 - Feb 23, 2012 at 12:02 PM

      I agree with you on this one, Koufax. I think ESPN goes way too far in this instance, yet they don’t do anything about Jalen Rose and his comments (twice.) It’s a one way street, and it’s gone way too far. If you open your mouth, you offend someone.

  2. stuckonwords - Feb 23, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    The problem is that non-racially motivated people often don’t have it occur to them that something they’ve said can be misconstrued. In an innocent and naive statement, people who do notice every last potentially racial word will pick it out and scream to high Heaven.

    This guy seems like a helluva good guy. “Chink in the armor” is a long-standing expression…one many of us have used without the least bit malicious intent. Jeremy is of Asian ethnicity, though, and this clearly non-racially motivated editor made the mistake of not noticing that the expression could be interpreted in a racial context. The editor seems like a helluva guy, and it seems it never occurred to him because he doesn’t think that way.

    We can hardly sing “don we now our gay apparel” at Christmas without offending someone. Do Muslims believe in Heaven and Hell? Just in writing this (“high Heaven”, “helluva guy”) I might’ve offended someone. It’s all too much to keep up with.

    • bearsrulepackdrool - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:36 PM

      That’s a load of crap. What a “racially-motivated” person? You think people wake up in the morning looking for reasons to scream “racist!”

      “This guy seems like a helluva good guy.” That’s your defense? How long have you known him? I’m not saying he’s racist. I’m just saying you shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss what a persons done for no reason other than “he seems like a helluva good guy.”

      Yea the phrase is a long-standing expression but as a professional writer and editor you need to know your subject and what you’re talking about. “Clearly non-racially motivated editor” again based of what? A tweet?

      Just because people aren’t openly racist doesn’t mean they aren’t racist. I’m not saying he is but I’m also not saying we should just dismiss this possibility over a simple apology that he issued. Probably because he’s trying to salvage his career.

      • stercuilus65 - Feb 29, 2012 at 10:46 PM

        You got it packdrool everyone (white people at least) is racist whether they know it or not.

  3. courtgolf - Feb 23, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    While I don’t buy that the headline wasn’t a juvenile racial pun (racial – not racist), I thought firing the guy was a bit over the top. ESPN has made being juvenile an art form for decades – they do sports and they appeal to the kid in us all – until it gets them in trouble.

    Well said, Stuckon – we pay too much attention to people who do nothing but look for ways to be “offended”.

  4. suhnum1fan - Feb 23, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Dude, why you didn’t think before wrote the headline? Why is that so hard to do nowadays?

  5. missamyg - Feb 23, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    This was worse than the “Amasian” headline from the New York Post?? C’mon, lets lighten up a little. Most folks wouldn’t even know about this headline if it hadn’t been so heavily publicized. Give the guy his job back and maybe suspend him for a couple of days. He has already been through enough. Let this one pass.

  6. mj888 - Feb 23, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    I am an American born Chinese who grew up in Chinatown in NYC. I personally do not see what the big deal is. I have been called way worse than “chink.” The writer should have been reprimanded or maybe suspended without pay but to lose his job and have his life thrown into chaos is way too much.

    I am in no way condoning what he wrote but comon we all have some racial stereotyping in us. We were all taught not to trust other ethnic groups by our parents and grandparents. Of course it is not right. But this writer had a SINGLE lapse in judgement. Let’s not destroy him over it. What? You never made a mistake before?

    I often make jokes directed at my Chinese background and honestly, it’s pretty damn funny and we deserve to be made fun of sometimes.

    Jeremy Lin does not seem too concerned about it because growing up in America he’s probably heard it all and worse. This whole thing is simply a media lynching. Relax people, laugh a little, even at yourself.

  7. missmollysmom - Feb 23, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    This sensitivity nonsense is out of control. As Stuckonwords said, “a chink in the armor” has been used for decades with no racial overtones. Should we now have to filter every expression for possible insults? A speaker can’t have a frog in his throat if he’s French. Can’t nip it in the bud if the person is Japanese. Can’t be used as a guinea pig if the person is Italian. Can’t put a different slant on it if the person is Asian. I’d say that we’ll be reduced to the “See Spot run” level of writing, but someone with acne or a lot of freckles might be offended.

    • stuckonwords - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:27 PM

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. In fact…I didn’t. :-) Thumbs up.

  8. trolan - Feb 23, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    ESPN went way to far in this case. People all over the world in dire straits , wars, poverty,hunger, disease, and repression of thier human rights. A person makes a comment innocent or even as a poor pun and has to go on the defensive because someone else was offended. Get a grip.. For those people it offended stay out of a comedy clubs and dont watch tv or movies you may just may have a breakdown. As for ESPN shame on you too the comment may have not been right or wrong (who am I to judge) but to take a mans job because of 1 comment wow!

  9. bearsrulepackdrool - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    I’m lost. He wrote the phrase and the guy that actually said it on air gets suspended?! How is this worse.

    I agree they both should have gotten reprimanded. This kind of carelessness when it comes to race needs to stop and therefore action needs to be taken. People don’t need to stop complaining about it. People need to stop saying and doing it.

    • stercuilus65 - Feb 29, 2012 at 10:51 PM

      I agree, you are lost.

  10. yahmule - Mar 1, 2012 at 3:46 AM

    This is what he gets for letting Floyd Mayweather intern for him.

  11. icewalker946 - Mar 4, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    I had not heard the word used for such a long time as a slur….now a new generation of kids will learn that ‘chink’ is a word used against Aisians.