With ESPN Taking Action For "Chink In The Armor" Uses, Ball's (L)in MSG's Court

ESPN has handed a month-long suspension to a television anchor, and fired a digital media employee, for their uses of the term "chink in the armor" regarding Jeremy Lin. Meanwhile, Knicks play-by-play announcer Spero Dedes, who used the same phrase on an ESPN-owned radio station on Friday night, has yet to be penalized Dedes is shown here interviewing Lin for an MSG TV special which aired last week..

An ESPN employee who made a dubious choice of a headline following the Knicks’ first loss in eight games now finds himself (or herself) on the unemployment Lin.

In the wake of the headline “Chink In The Armor” attached to a story about the Knicks’ loss to the Hornets on Friday night, in a game in which point guard Jeremy Lin recorded nine turnovers, ESPN made good on its promise of “appropriate disciplinary action” and terminated the employee involved with the decision to publish the headline on their mobile application.

“The ESPN employee responsible for our Mobile headline has been dismissed,” ESPN’s director of communications in digital media, Kevin Ota, announced in a statement. This clears Ian Begley, who had written the story linked (or, if you prefer, Lin-ked) to the derogatory headline, of any wrongdoing.

ESPN’s next course of action involved a use of the phrase on ESPNews Wednesday night, following the Knicks’ last win. Interviewing Knicks television color commentator (and Knicks Hall of Famer) Walt “Clyde” Frazier, anchor Max Bretos posed the question, “If there is a chink in the armor, where can he improve his game?”

Referring to Bretos in the same statement today, Ota writes, “The ESPNews anchor has been suspended for 30 days.” (An ESPNews anchor apologized on behalf of that usage Saturday afternoon on “SportsCenter” on ESPNews.)

While his use of the phrase may have been more innocent than the one that claimed the job of the ESPN mobile employee, it is clear that given the subject matter, Jeremy Lin, there is a far better choice of words – especially given Bretos’ current companion.

“My wife is Asian,” Bretos pleaded Saturday night in a multi-tweet apology on his Twitter account. “[I] would never intentionally say anything to disrespect her and that community.

“I have learned from this will make every effort to avoid something similar happening again,” wrote Bretos, adding praise for fellow ESPN employees of Asian descent such as Michael Kim. “Everyone should be so fortunate to have colleagues like [Kim].”

In addition, Ota addressed a third utterance of the “chink in the armor” phrase with regards to Jeremy Lin on the radio – but it was not the one that we exclusively reported happened last Saturday afternoon, according to a Twitter user who had heard it.

Instead, the other use of the phrase happened Friday night at the conclusion of the Knicks broadcast on 1050 ESPN Radio in New York. Ota only wrote in the statement that “the radio commentator is not an ESPN employee.” That radio commentator, Spero Dedes, is in his first year of calling Knicks games on the radio, after spending a half-dozen years in the same capacity for the Los Angeles Lakers. (The Paramus, N.J. native also has experience on NFL Network.)

But if you look at Dedes’ use of the phrase, it appears to be far worse than the other two uses by Bretos and the now-canned mobile employee.

The headline appearing on ESPN’s mobile website was accompanied by a photo of Lin, while Bretos referred to Lin as “he.”

Dedes actually ties the two directly together: “For the first time in what has been a remarkable two-week run, Jeremy Lin shows a chink in the armor.”

Knicks radio broadcasts are produced by MSG Radio Network – meaning Dedes is on MSG’s payroll.

Interestingly, Dedes recently conducted “an exclusive one-on-one interview” with Lin that debuted on their network late last week.

Let’s see: ESPN has suspended one of their employees and fired another for their uses of the phrase “chink in the armor” when discussing Jeremy Lin (with disciplinary action on the third alleged incident on ESPN Radio last weekend still to be determined).

Meanwhile, MSG seems reluctant to issue any disciplinary action in the derogatory slurs against Lin that appeared not only on their television network (and doubly, in their building) on Wednesday night (at least reprimand the cameraperson responsible for that shot), but on their radio network after their lead basketball analyst analyst uses the same fateful phrase to close out a broadcast.

This was brought to Spike Lee’s attention. Spike Lee is the biggest New York Knicks fan. When he speaks, you’d better “do the right thing” and listen up. “IT’S WRONG,” Lee tweeted this morning.

It is, Spike. Yet Dedes (at press time) is preparing to call this afternoon’s Knicks/Mavericks game with no punishment whatsoever.

The Worldwide Leader has done their part.

It’s now time for MSG to issue some Lin-junction.

2 comments on “With ESPN Taking Action For "Chink In The Armor" Uses, Ball's (L)in MSG's Court

  1. greg says:

    Linsanity ESPN Racial Slur Trifecta

  2. rob says:

    This creep got away with it. He should apologize or be fired too.

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