ESPN Apologizes, Dismisses Headline Writer

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ESPN posted the following apology on its website Feb. 19 following complaints about a headline regarding Jeremy Lin, “A Chink in the Armor,” that followed the New York Knicks’ loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Feb. 17.

At ESPN we are aware of three offensive and inappropriate comments made on ESPN outlets during our coverage of Jeremy Lin.

Saturday we apologized for two references. We have since learned of a similar reference Friday on ESPN Radio New York. The incidents were separate and different. We have engaged in a thorough review of all three and have taken the following action:

• The ESPN employee [Anthony Federico] responsible for our Mobile headline has been dismissed.

• The ESPNEWS anchor [Max Bretos] has been suspended for 30 days.

• The radio commentator is not an ESPN employee.

We again apologize, especially to Mr. Lin. His accomplishments are a source of great pride to the Asian American community, including the Asian American employees at ESPN. Through self-examination, improved editorial practices and controls, and response to constructive criticism, we will be better in the future.

Bretos defended himself on Feb. 19, tweeting, “My wife is Asian, would never intentionally say anything to disrespect her and that community. Wanted 2 apologize 2 all those I have upset. Not done with any racial reference. Despite intention, phrase was inappropriate in this context.”

Federico tweeted on Feb. 22, “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 …

“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.”

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