JACL Urges Sports Media to Be Proactive

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WASHINGTON — The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) has expressed grave concern that elements within the sports media continue to use subtle and blatant forms of negative racial slurs and insensitivity in their newscasts and printed media.

While ESPN has taken quick action against those in its organization that were directly involved in the recent use of “chink” in reference to the New York Knicks’ Jeremy Lin, “there needs to be a deeper focus on the institutional factors that allow such occurrences to happen in the bright light of the media,” JACL said in a statement. “This neglect sends the wrong message to the public, young and old alike, that ‘If the media uses this kind of language and depiction, it must be all right.’ That becomes harmful to the minority communities.

“The sports media has a big influence on particularly the younger generations. It is important that they be aware and careful in the language they use to describe various sports figures. They should be held to a high standard because of the coverage they receive.

“Decades of hard work to fight racism, prejudice, and stereotyping are hurt by the careless use of racial slurs by people in the media. We call on ESPN and other media outlets to take strong measures to ensure that this type of thing does not happen again.”

JACL National Executive Director Floyd Mori commented, “The kind of racial trash talk we hear and see within segments of the sports media needs to remain in the trash and not in full view of public consumers. This problem goes beyond those who are in front of the camera or holding the pen. Management needs to develop a process that guarantees sensitivity to this issue and adopt strong internal sanctions and penalties for those who cross the line.

“This is a problem that affects the future of Asian Americans’ aspirations in advancing their careers in sports as well as the demeaning impact that this has on a nation that has been inspired by the attention in recent weeks given to Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks. The American Dream should be open to all and not restricted by the abuse that comes simply because of the color of one’s skin.”

In related news, Michael A. Anastasi, president of the Associated Press Sports Editors, issued the following statement on Feb. 21:

“As professional journalists, we are mindful of the power of the press. Any misuse of that privilege, intentional or not, is simply unacceptable.

“APSE strives for fairness, sensitivity and the highest standards of sports journalism. We expect our members to adhere to these standards in every form of our business, whether it be print, digital or broadcast.”

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