Former ESPN employee apologizes for Jeremy Lin headline

Did ESPN jump the gun when they fired the headline writer after the Jeremy Lin gaffe?

2/23/12 in NBA   |   Pat   |   5138 respect

The ESPN mobile site with the headline in question, with headline writer Anthony Federico in the inset

By now, everyone is well aware of the ESPN situation in which a headline writer was fired for using the phrase "chink in the armor" in a headline(in the photo above) involving Asian-American basketball player Jeremy Lin. Anthony Federico (top right in the photo), the headline writer in question, issued an apology on his twitter page. Here it is, in its entirety:

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. 

They would see that on the day of the incident I got a call from a friend – who happens to be homeless – and rushed to his aid. He was collapsed on the side of the road due to exposure and hunger. They would see how I picked him up and got him a hotel room and fed him. They would see I used my vacation time last year to volunteer in the orphanages of Haiti. They would see how I ‘adopted’ an elderly Alzheimer’s patient and visited him every week for a year. They would see that every winter I organize a coat drive for those less fortunate in New Haven. They would see how I raised $10,000 for a friend in need when his kids were born four months premature. They would see how I have worked in soup kitchens and convalescent homes since I was a kid. They would see my actions speak louder than my words. They would see that these acts were not done for my glory, but for God’s. They would see that each day I live and will continue to live a life of joy and service.

It never has been or will be my intention to hurt anyone.

I wrote thousands and thousands and thousands of headlines in my five years at ESPN. There never was a problem with any of them and I was consistently praised as an employee – both personally and professionally. Two weeks prior to the incident I had my first column published on espnW.com. My career was taking off. Why would I throw that all away with a racist pun? This was an honest mistake. 

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.

My solace in this is that ‘all things work together for good for those who love the Lord.’ I praise God equally in the good times and the bad times.

-Anthony Federico


All across the internet, people are discussing this, and there are many views. Some still believe that what he did was worthy of termination, no matter what he does outside of work. Some others have read this and changed their mind, saying that this is a case of a good guy who made one mistake, and shouldn't lose his career over it. And of course there are the others, who thought he never should have been fired in the first place.

What do you think? Does his apology change your view at all? Or did his poor judgment result in exactly what he deserved? Let us know your take in the comment section below.
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2/24/12   |   Chief_aka_James   |   3292 respect

marcus_nyce wrote:
What makes "the mothership" look even worse is that the same reference was made LIVE on ESPN News (I think?) by an anchor and they only suspended him for a month or something. I do believe they were honest mistakes  - not that I'm condoning it or feel that they should have let it slide - but why does one warrant termination and the other a suspension?

Because on-air talent is more important to them.

2/24/12   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

he is a TO machine...a chink in the armor indeed

2/23/12   |   Yosefederation   |   111 respect

Suspended for  a couple of weeks maybe, but fired is alittle extreme. ESPN has become a corporate joke, especially spinning this into a non-worthy story to self promote themselves. Thank goodness for the DP show monday through Friday, which I watch everyday instead of the espn garbage.

2/23/12   |   Yosefederation   |   111 respect

Suspended for  a couple of weeks maybe, but fired is alittle extreme. ESPN has become a corporate joke, especially spinning this into a non-worthy story to self promote themselves. Thank goodness for the DP show monday through Friday, which I watch everyday instead of the espn garbage.

2/23/12   |   jjh8857   |   315 respect

I liked 'Peking Dunk' & 'Moo Goo Gai Slam'

2/23/12   |   janet011685   |   25874 respect

I mean, I get it, but really?  I don't think it was meant in a derogatory manner.  

Besides, "Chink" is a slur for the Chinese.  Lin isn't Chinese.  He's Taiwanese.  The proper slur would have been "Twink", and that would have caused an uproar for VERY different reasons (for those at all familiar with the LGBT community).  

2/23/12   |   Debi_L   |   11287 respect

ms_hippie_queen wrote:
jesus, i thought you only got 80 characters on twitter

Yeah, he didn't tweet the apology, he posted it on his twitter page.  That you are allowed to do cheeky

2/23/12   |   ms_hippie_queen   |   28970 respect

jesus, i thought you only got 80 characters on twitter

2/23/12   |   Debi_L   |   11287 respect

My opinion is that it is how it is perceived.  I've heard all the hype about Jeremy Lin, but have never paid that much attention to him, certainly not enough to know he was Asian.  The headline meant to me exactly what I'm sure Anthony intended it to mean.  Therefore, I was all "huh??" when I read that he'd been fired.

I think he should be happy to be away from ESPN.  Anyone who knows me knows I have no use for them.  I'm sure Anthony will find a better job with another company that will make working for ESPN look like a paper boy's job.  At least I sure hope he does.

2/23/12   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

get off twitter...social media is ruining lives...except faniq, its ok

2/23/12   |   marcus_nyce   |   26042 respect

What makes "the mothership" look even worse is that the same reference was made LIVE on ESPN News (I think?) by an anchor and they only suspended him for a month or something. I do believe they were honest mistakes  - not that I'm condoning it or feel that they should have let it slide - but why does one warrant termination and the other a suspension?

2/23/12   |   beerstudk   |   1538 respect

I guess everybody can't be Jason Whitlock

2/23/12   |   keppieboy   |   158 respect

It is funny how Micheal Wilbon makes an awful comment on Twitter and he gets nothing.