Really, ESPN? ‘Chink in the Armor’?

ESPN screenshot, taken Friday night

UPDATE: ESPN has fired the staffer who wrote the headline.

“We want to give ESPN the benefit of the doubt here,” writes Cyd Ziegler Jr., “but it’s impossible to believe the person who wrote that headline didn’t know exactly what they were writing. Especially since ESPN previously came under fire for using the same headline…to describe a USA basketball game in China.” || Mobile screenshot of the headline.


Last night,’s mobile web site posted an offensive headline referencing Jeremy Lin at 2:30 am ET. The headline was removed at 3:05 am ET. We are conducting a complete review of our cross-platform editorial procedures and are determining appropriate disciplinary action to ensure this does not happen again. We regret and apologize for this mistake.

* Read the Asian American Journalists Association’s letter to ESPN



  1. Philip said:

    I understand that there are words and phrases that sound offensive but have abosolutely no racist meanings; “niggardly” for example menas “stingy” or “miserly”. But people who use words as a living should have enough sense to realize that maybe a different word or phrase might be prudent. Unless being a racist mofo was their intent from the beginning.

  2. Dave Barnes said:

    I hate it when they apologize.
    Just move on.

  3. Honky said:

    Funny as hell….all the minorities are always bitchin and crying, and big brother whitey is laughing.

  4. Paul B. said:

    Are you kidding me? How unprofessional can you get!

  5. singpao said:

    Calm down! The headline may just referred as a crack in Jeremy Lin long winning record last night, because the Knicks lost a game to Hornet last night.

  6. Excellent, albeit illiterate, attempt to be literal, singpao. But I think you just ran into a tree and missed the forest.

  7. Ken D. said:

    I can’t read minds, but I would not be surprised if Barry’s take is correct. I have not heard much of “chink” as a racial term in recent times, and I think it is thoroughly possible that someone, particularly a younger person, could have been unaware of it. It is still an institutional failure that no one caught it and edited it out, but it is far from obvious to me that the writer must have had racial intent.

  8. Anonymous said:

    Whoever wrote the story wad very aware of the pun they used….if you believe a professional sports writer mistakenly referred to lin as a chink then you are sadly mistaken.

  9. That guy (or girl) at ESPN will probably be gone by Monday. Let’s don’t throw down the race card too much here. Racism is in all races. That’s why I still get called “white boy” at times and I’m middle aged…lol.

  10. Bill Reader said:

    I can assure you, Ken. D., that my Chinese students encounter that word all the time, just as they are ridiculed, mocked and disrespected because of their (apologies) “Chinglish.” Though of course the bigots who harass them don’t know a single word of Chinese and only have menu-level command of any other language …

  11. Boohoo said:

    Idiot was just mad because Knicks lost to one of the worst teams in NBA……he had to cry out loud !!!

  12. Sad that after all that we have been thru in this country from civil war, civil rights, and the death of Maritn Luther King we still have supposed educated sports writers that use a racial slur to get a by-line. Gook, nigger, cracker, butch, retard, cripple,and chink are not appropriate labels nor any other. The writer and his supervisors that allowed this out should be fired. Howard Cosell used the phrase “look at that monkey run” describing a black football player on Monday night football. It ended his career. It wasn’t right then nor is it now.

  13. Anonymous said:

    no matter what intentions were behind the use of this word, a content editor needs to think about how the public will receive it. whether the person who wrote this was racist or not, you’d think somebody would’ve stopped the presses before this went out

  14. Jon said:

    They could have just said “A Knick in the Armor” and everything would have been fine. The very fact they intentionally CHOSED this particular headline shows the maliciousness of their racist message.

  15. Tjoe said:

    from Merrium and Webster Dictionary and look at the early use date.

    Definition of CHINK

    transitive verb

    Growing up in my generation .. i took the Artical to mead a hole in the armor. I do not automatically asume something is “bad” “racisit” etc. I take the whole artical into perspective …first.

    : to fill the chinks of (as by caulking)

    First Known Use of CHINK


    Other Building Terms

    batten, cistern, hearth, lath, transom, wainscot

  16. Anonymous said:

    I’m sorry, but it’s hard for me to believe that the writer innocently used the term “chink”. Even if he meant to refer to a “crack in the armor”, his choice of words was extremely distasteful and unforgivable in the news world. Shame to ESPN.

  17. Tjoe said:

    Thats why we have all these problems…. people would rather believe the worst about their fellow man or women. Thats why we have sensationalism journalism. I for one whould like to turn on the m=news and hear all the good things that happened in the day. But good news doesn’t sell … people would rather hear the dirt .. so they can feel better about themselves. My thought.

  18. ed Saf said:

    FUCK Espn

  19. taheati said:

    ‘Still waiting for Lin’s apology to all Chinese who might be offended/demeaned/put off by Lin’s Xanga blog & bloghandle: chinkballa88 (story @ Deadspin).

    Which doesn’t excuse ESPN. But it does dilute my outrage when I see the alleged victim use the same epithet to describe his then-gangsta-wannabee self.

  20. Chink said:


    A racist term used to describe the Chinese.

    Chink is considered a racist term by Asian people. Chink is called to someone who is chinese or chinese look-alike(from other asian countries). Generaly you hear this word on roads or highways from angry drivers who just missed on getting an accident.


    Justin: I hate those damn chinks..they’re everywhere.
    Cyle: Justin, your a racist..Not cool man..NOT cool!

  21. Chink said:


    slang for asians. derogatory.


    those slant eye fucks are taking over midtown!

  22. Chink said:


    A term used to describe Koreans. Gook is still a controversial slur. Some Koreans may take it as a joke but some may take as a serious racial slur.
    The history behind it is that during the Korean war, an American approached a Korean.
    The Korean did not understand the American, instead he pointed at him and called out “Mi Gook” which means “America” in Korean. The American then mistakened the Korean and thought the Korean was refering to himself as a “gook.” After the Korean War, American started to refer to Koreans as Gooks for short term thinking it was a short name for Korean. 
    There are many different stories where “gook” came from such as korean foods or HanGOOK. 


    Person:I hate gook (korean term for soup)
    Asian: I luv gook

    Racial slur:
    Person 1: Wut u lookin at gook? You want some fried rice?
    Asian: WTF!!! Do you wanna die?

  23. Jap said:

    It just means Lin is ok with it. He’s not sweating the term “Chink”

  24. Jap said:

    But on the other hand, if you’re an outlet of professional media. Shouldn’t your staff be educated of racial implication of the words they use? If they’re not, then a. EPSN should apologize for not educating their writers or b. The writer should be fired because he/she wasn’t qualify to do the job. Educate yourself.

  25. Goombah said:


    1.(US, slang, pejorative) A person of Italian descent.
    2.(US, slang) A companion, pal, close friend, or associate, used especially among Italian-American men. It sometimes has the connotation of an older friend who acts as a patron, protector or adviser


    Italian Gangster: bada boom bada bing!
    Person: You stupid Goombah!

  26. illadvise said:

    So i guess “Niggardly (scant, meagre) Score Loses It for the Knicks”… wouldn’t of drawn as much attention.

  27. Directmale said:

    This is an example of what is wront with the PC crowd that wants to stifle free speech. The sentence, if made about any other player, would not have been given a second thought since it wouldn’t be considered inappropriate. The fact that it can’t be said about an Asian player but would be ok if used to describe any non-Asian player shows selective outrage that is uncalled for. Some people just sit and look for things to be outraged about. Silly

  28. Riccismiles said:

    Great!! We get CHINK in the armor today. Where was the great Pat Ewing headline from decades ago that didn’t get published? You know the one: “Spook in the Key”!! LOL bad bad bad boys!! Keep the tongue-in-cheek jokes to small crowds of close friends.

  29. Riccismiles said:

    Great!! We get CHINK in the armor today. Where was the great Pat Ewing headline from decades ago that didn’t get published? You know the one: “Spook in the Key”!! LOL bad bad bad boys!! Keep the tongue-in-cheek jokes to small crowds of close friends.

  30. Riccismiles said:

    Great!! We get CHINK in the armor today. Where was the great Pat Ewing headline from decades ago that didn’t get published? You know the one: “Spook in the Key”!! LOL bad bad bad boys!! Keep the tongue-in-cheek jokes to small crowds of close friends.

  31. Riccismiles said:

    Great!! We get CHINK in the armor today. Where was the great Pat Ewing headline from decades ago that didn’t get published? You know the one: “Spook in the Key”!! LOL bad bad bad boys!! Keep the tongue-in-cheek jokes to small crowds of close friends.

  32. TheTruth said:

    Comments such as Directmale is why this great country is in the gutter. Context, idiot, context…”Horovitz’s Cheap turnovers lead to loss” vs “Lebrons Cheap turnovers lead to loss”. Comprende? Stupido

  33. D said:

    You know, people only take offense to this stuff because they are MINORITIES in America. The truth is that everyone knows, deep down, that white people have accomplished more than every other race on the planet. Therefore, if there was a headline that said something like “Crumbling like a cracker” no one would take offense. Simply because they used common-place terminology in a game that happened to feature an Asian player this gets blown out of proportion. Honestly, who cares. Asian people would only take offense to this because they perceive themselves as inferior. To the contrary, a white person being called “cracker” would likely laugh it off. It all comes down to sensitivity.

  34. Chuck Knox said:

    “Spooks over Gooks” would have been more appropriate headline. They messed up

  35. R Thomas Berner said:

    Not only is the headline racist, but it’s wrong. As defined, chink is a weak spot. Lin is the opposite.

  36. Bill Reader said:

    Although I certainly find the headline unnecessarily offensive, I am even more deeply concerned by some of the comments above that are calling for the headline writer (if not the entire staff on duty at ESPN) to be fired.

    Every person makes poor decisions now and again, including journalists who get caught up in the often off-color banter of the newsroom in the late hours. Those poor decisions are not always fireable offenses; more often, they are just First Amendment moments taken a bit too far for polite company.

    In this case, I think there is at least one ESPN website staffer who is learning a valuable lesson, one that he or she will be much more diligent about monitoring in the future. Vigilance borne of a hard lesson learned is valuable; it should be kept in the ESPN newsroom.

    I am very, very worried about this trend of media companies firing people for making controversial statements. It cuts to the core of the concept of “freedom of the press,” which includes the freedom to make offensive comments.

  37. RIver said:

    It should not have been allowed to be published but honesty if we were just talking to each other i think it is great. i wish we could talk like lisa lampanelli all day because it is funny as hell and people should not get offended. look up “lend a nigga a pencil” on youtube

  38. Mike said:

    OMG- really? while I agree that racism still abounds ( from EVERY race toward some other), this is still America and by God we DO or at least Should still have freedom of speech. The “injured” party may not like to hear certain things, but they are only words- people. There’s no blood drawn or loss or life when someone uses “politically incorrect” expressions- you just may not like hearing them but get over it. We have grown a society of pussies when it comes to this kind of thing. I hear things said to me and about me that I don’t always like, but guess what? It didn’t kill me- might me mad as hell but I’m still living and breathing. Now, I’m sure that I have offended many people here, so let me say…. get over it and move on with your life. When we stifle the voice of the common people, we lose one of our founding beliefs that we are entitled (dangerous word I know)to OPENLY express ourselves.

  39. Marko said:

    Issues of Censorship aside…there was once the ‘voice of the common people’ in Germany –they called themselves the National Socialist German Worker’s party. There was also the National Fascist Party in Italy. And not too long ago there was a certain segment of the U.S. Population that was consistently brutalized by the common people –or at least those willing to be the voice representing the common people?

    Either way, we all know how well and good they all expressed themselves both in words and actions.

    How does that relate to the article? I don’t know, but I’m sure it has to do with the perpetuation of certain views about person’s skin color, or religious expression, and how quickly it can escalate into violence.

    For all those who say, “get over it,” it’s easy to say that when not constantly harassed by bullies as a kid on a daily basis (FOR YEARS POSSIBLY) for being different. But the fact is that those same kids grow up to be adults–unless they kill themselves like some of the gay teens we’ve heard about–and are STILL HARASSED by the same taunts from the same types of people in a country said to be spreading democracy and equality.

    After reading these comments, my question is WHY is it okay to say ‘chink,’–when used to describe a person of Asian descent–but use ‘N-word’ as a substitution for the word, ‘nigger?’

    Finally, if some minority writer at ESPN headlined something like, “This Honky can’t dunk,” I hope that person would be fired just the same.

    Do I lose for longest comment on this thread or what?

  40. Marko said:

    Also, with regard to Bretos’ apology:

    “Wanted 2 apologize 2 all those I have upset. Not done with any racial reference. Despite intention,phrase was inappropriate in this context,”

    — Was that tweeted? It’s sincere, I can tell, because of the 2s.

    “My wife is Asian, would never intentionally say anything to disrespect her and that community.

    — That excuses his behaviour. Sounds very much like, “I’m not racist; I have a black friend.”

    “I have learned from this will make every effort to avoid something similar happening again.”

    — To me translates into: “I’ll try and be more PC for all you sensitive people.”

  41. Dan said:

    Just the latest example of what happens when you replace editors with $30K-a-year “web developers” . . .

  42. drmadlab said:

    Some of the people on here are touched in their heads. There is no defending this. Jeremy Lin is a stand up guy and a super nice dude to accept ESPN’s apology and be on his way over there to whip somebody’s ass.

  43. tmac said:

    Why are people defending the this? It’s play on words do to douches. It’s saying something like the game was “BLACKED OUT BY AFRICAN AMERICAN FANS.”