Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks said he doesn’t think the “offensive and inappropriate” comments made about him on ESPN were intentional.
The Walt Disney Co. network issued an apology yesterday and fired an employee responsible for a headline on the ESPN mobile site that used a phrase that could be construed as a racial slur. It also suspended ESPNews anchor Max Bretos for 30 days for using a similar comment while discussing Lin, who is the first Taiwanese- or Chinese-American to play in the National Basketball Association.
“I don’t think it was on purpose or whatever, but they have apologized and so from my end I don’t care anymore,” Lin said in a televised interview after leading the Knicks to a 104-97 win over Dallas yesterday. “Have to learn to forgive and I don’t even think that was intentional. Or hopefully not.”
ESPN apologized to Lin and said in a statement yesterday that his accomplishments are a “source of great pride to the Asian-American community, including the Asian-American employees at ESPN.”
The network said the headline, which appeared early yesterday after the Knicks’ 89-85 loss to the New Orleans Hornets, was removed 35 minutes after it was posted.
While Bretos was suspended for one month for his comment about Lin, ESPN said no action was taken for a similar reference made Feb. 18 on ESPN Radio in New York because the commentator wasn’t an ESPN employee. ESPN described the comments as “offensive and inappropriate” in its statement.
Lin, a 23-year-old Harvard University graduate, was cut by two NBA teams before joining the Knicks in late December. He’s helped New York to a 7-1 record since becoming the starting point guard and had 28 points and a career-high 14 assists in yesterday’s win over the defending champion Dallas Mavericks.
Lin has averaged 25 points and 9.5 assists since taking over as a starter, making him a team leader and an international sensation. He’s also helped the Knicks even their record at 16-16 on the season.