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  • 02/18/2012, 05:11PM ET

Lancelot, there's an Asian man in your suit of armor!

fvkasm2x (193-58-12) vs williewilliejuan (47-5-2)
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In an article about the Knicks and Jeremy Lin, ESPN ran with the heading "**** in the armor."

It was labeled as racist and the offending editor will be punished. Feel free to debate the racism aspect and/or the punishment aspect of this debate.

I say that the use of this saying was not racist. It was very stupid, ill conceived and a bad mistake. But the saying isn't racist.

SI.com has a brief blurb about it, titled: "ESPN apologizes for using racial slur in headline on Lin story"

I feel this is innacurate, because you must take the word in the context it was used. **** here means flaw or vulnerable aspect.

Take this example:

While dining with some black friends, we order soup as an appetizer. One of my black friends says "Would you please pass the ****."

I wouldn't be offended. He didn't call me a ****. He wanted saltines with his soup.

Punishment: I think the brain-child behind this article heading should get a verbal warning or First Write Up in his file. Whatever the most lenient form of punishment is over there at ESPN. He shouldn't be fined, fired or suspended. He's just an idiot.


In the past couple of weeks, sports outlets have regaled us with headlines like "Linsanity" and "Lincredible" to describe Lin and NY's reaction to him. That's what headline writers do. They try to come up with eye-catching, sometimes funny headlines to get people to read their articles.

That's why it's a pretty good bet the headline wasn't just an unfortunate choice of phrases. Chances are pretty good that someone was trying to riff on an Asian theme, just as the NY Post had done earlier in the week when they used a headline that described Lin as "Amasian" (a play on amazin').

Even if it wasn't done on purpose to play on an Asian theme, the editor who approved the headline should've known better. The Post caught a lot of heat for its insensitive headline. A few years ago, an editor at Golfweek was fired for running a cover photo of a noose to accompany a story about Tiger Woods. You just can't use racist terms and imagery to hype your articles and the editor should've known it.

ESPN should suspend the editor who approved the headline pending an investigation. If it is determined that he deliberately ran the headline to play up Lin's Asian heritage, he should be fired.




Apparently they also used it verbally and not just in print. That leads me to believe that not only did a writer for the website use it, but either the sports anchor or the guy who writes his material for the teleprompter also used it.

That's two people over at ESPN.

Can you fire them both? What are they drinking in the water over there?

The use of the word given the context is stupid. The noose thing with Tiger was stupid. But I don't think either of them should result in someone getting fired, unless you can prove racial intent.

Look at a common saying "My boss is a slave driver." Or in the music biz, "I'm a slave to the music."

Should we avoid using the word slave while around black people because it might offend them?

Sometimes we say or do insensitive things. That doesn't mean we had bad intentions and it doesn't mean we should be punished severely. We can be held accountable, but not vilified.

I think what ESPN staff did was stupid, but not malicious.


Here's the situation ESPN found itself in. Either:

A) They had an editor who purposely ran a headline that contained a word considered to be a racist slur by a large number of its readers; or

B) They had an editor who is so stupid he doesn't understand that using the term "Chink" in an article about an Asian-American player would be considered offensive by a large number of its readers

Whichever one it was, ESPN decided they had to move on since the employee has now been fired. It was the right decision. You can't allow employees to alienate a large segment of your customers and threaten your brand with their stupid decisions. Hell, the morons who run this site knew enough to include the term in its autocensors and this dump is barely functional.

Like it or not, we live in a racially-sensitive world. ESPN has to conduct business with that reality in mind. They can't afford to retain employees whose poor judgment creates PR nightmares for the company. They've already had to issue a public apology and spent a newscycle branded as racist and insensitive. That isn't good for business. They had to fire the employee to distance themselves from this headline.


After his hot start, many people were wondering what Lin's weakness was. When would he "come back down to Earth." A common phrase regarding a weak spot is this armor quote. It might contain a word also used as a racial slur, but the word is in the dictionary.

- A narrow opening, such as a crack or fissure. A small but fatal weakness

ESPN used the word correctly. They did so in poor judgement and taste, but it is not a racist comment.

Research shows the phrase has been used over 3000 times in ESPN articles. If it isn't racist to use the saying about whites, blacks or hispanics, why is it racist to use against Asians? It isn't. It's just people being too PC and whining about little things that don't really matter.

ESPN has apparently fired the editor and suspended the sports anchor for 30 days.

Why the difference in punishment? They both said the exact same thing.

There have been dozens of instances with a play on words regarding Lin and his heritage. No doubt, you've seen or heard most of them. I think this was a very poor attempt to do the same thing. I don't think it was malicious.


Without access to ESPN's HR records or being privy to the results of its investigation, one can only guess why the punishments were different for the two employees who used the offensive term. However, seeing as ESPN is a large corporation (owned by an even larger corporation), they're sure to have a robust legal-minded HR department who would want to ensure similar offenses receive similar punishments.

Since the punishments were different, one can surmise that ESPN determined there was a qualitative difference between the two incidents. The most logical conclusion is they determined the headline incident was intentional.

There have been a couple recent incidents where employees have intentionally used racist terms to describe Asian customers. A Papa Johns employee was fired for referring to a customer as "Lady Chinky Eyes." Later, a Chik-Fil-A employee was fired for using terms like "Ching" and "Chong" to describe Asian customers.

These incidents underscore a couple of issues: First, this country still has a long way to go with race relations. Second, when an employee intentionally uses racist terms while in your employ, termination is the correct punishment.

February 18, 2012  05:12 PM ET

OMG Banana! This website bans the C word. As in cr-acker. Ritz ****!

February 18, 2012  05:12 PM ET

Ritz Crac-ker. how funny

ch1nk in the armor and pass the crack3rs

February 18, 2012  05:34 PM ET

I'll give this a go.

February 18, 2012  05:36 PM ET

They weren't using it as if to call Lin a ****, but they, at least IMO, clearly only used "**** in the armor" because of the double entendre. It also didn't look good with a picture of Lin right above it. Whoever published it had to have noticed it.

February 18, 2012  06:14 PM ET

Good luck, Batman. This is a great subject for debate. Hopefully, it will spur some discussion.

February 18, 2012  07:25 PM ET
QUOTE(#2):

Ritz Crac-ker. how funnych1nk in the armor and pass the crack3rs

Racist!

February 18, 2012  07:51 PM ET
QUOTE(#5):

Good luck, Batman. This is a great subject for debate. Hopefully, it will spur some discussion.

Ya, I tried to be serious and funny. Not sure if it came off as well as I'd hoped. Good luck. Should be interesting

February 18, 2012  07:52 PM ET
QUOTE(#5):

Good luck, Batman. This is a great subject for debate. Hopefully, it will spur some discussion.

You too man. Should be a good one. I tried to be both funny and serious in my first argument. It's a serious topic, but also kind of silly if you think about it.

Comment #10 has been removed
Comment #11 has been removed
February 18, 2012  08:08 PM ET
QUOTE(#11):

Wow surprise surprise, you can't say ch-ink or car-cker but you can say NlGGER. NlGGA. and NlGGERS when ever you want to

*c-racker

Comment #13 has been removed
Comment #14 has been removed
February 18, 2012  09:53 PM ET

Please avoid using racial slurs here. I'd hate for the TD to get deleted because of too many complaints on the subject (due to potty mouths in the comments).

Comment #16 has been removed
February 18, 2012  10:01 PM ET
QUOTE(#16):

You got it, frog.

I'm not French... I hate the French

February 18, 2012  10:05 PM ET
QUOTE(#15):

Please avoid using racial slurs here. I'd hate for the TD to get deleted because of too many complaints on the subject (due to potty mouths in the comments).

Touche

February 18, 2012  10:36 PM ET
QUOTE(#11):

Wow surprise surprise, you can't say ch-ink or car-cker but you can say NlGGER. NlGGA. and NlGGERS when ever you want to

You're surprised that using a lowercase L instead of a a capital I doesn't get stopped by the censors?

February 18, 2012  10:46 PM ET

knickerbocker please, yes it was racist.

 
February 18, 2012  11:56 PM ET
QUOTE(#15):

Please avoid using racial slurs here. I'd hate for the TD to get deleted because of too many complaints on the subject (due to potty mouths in the comments).

Isn't it iconic? Don't ya think?

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