Our View: Offensive headline gets an ESPN employee fired

DKS editors

If you go to ESPN’s website and type “Chink in the armor” in the search engine, the site transfers you to a message that reads “NOT FOUND: http://espn.go.com/404.html.”

That’s because the story housed on this page was removed 35 minutes after it was posted.

Someone working for ESPN’s mobile site wrote the headline “Chink in the armor” to complement a story about the New York Knicks’ loss Friday night, referring to Jeremy Lin. Lin is Taiwanese.

Not cool.

For those who aren’t familiar with the pun, “chink” is a racially-charged slur meaning a person of Chinese decent.

That original employee was fired, and an ESPN anchor was subsequently suspended for 30 days when he used the same phrase on air.

The phrase, “a chink in the armor” is an idiom that represents a fault which may cause problems.

With Lin’s winning streak ruined by the Knicks’ loss, whoever wrote the headline might have just been referring to exactly that: a ruined winning streak.

But who the hell doesn’t check headlines? How do you miss such a blatant innuendo?

It’s not like the offensiveness was buried in rumor or in the entymology of a word that no one is familiar with: people know the word.

Everyone makes mistakes and a lot of journalists get fired for things like this.

Remember when Cleveland Browns reporter Tony Grossi was reassigned a different sports beat at The Plain Dealer for tweeting this gem:

“He’s a pathetic figure, the most irrelevant billionaire in the world,” referring to Browns owner Randy Lerner.

And that was just a tweet. This guy wrote a headline, which works to garner the most traffic.

Granted, it was posted at 2:30 a.m., but clearly, enough people heard about the mistake.

We’re no experts, but maybe that person should have had at least someone to look over his writing and check for errors or, furthermore, moral misjudgements. After all, headlines can get you fired too.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.

In the above editorial, it was earlier stated that Tony Grossi of The Plain Dealer was fired for his tweet about the Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner. Since posting the editorial, it has been changed to include the correct information. Grossi was not fired; he was reassigned.