As Linsanity Continues, ESPN Writer Explains Headline and AAJA Sets Guidelines

By Chris Ariens 

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Another win last night for the New York Knicks and their new star Jeremy Lin who scored 17 points against the Atlanta Hawks, then sat out most of the fourth quarter.

As the Linsanity continues the Asian American Journalists Association released a media advisory yesterday setting guidelines for journalists covering Lin. The first “Danger Zone” listed is the use of the word Chink.

“Pejorative; do not use in a context involving an Asian person or someone who is Asian American. Extreme care is needed if using the well-trod phrase “chink in the armor.”

Of course, this comes too late for ESPN Mobile writer Anthony Federico, who was fired earlier this week for using that very phrase in a headline early Saturday morning.

Federico’s headline and his firing were a hot topic in the news earlier in the week. MSNBC anchor Richard Lui said, “To Asian Americans, the ‘C’ word is the equivalent of the ‘N’ word to African Americans. Lin is being watched by Asian Americans, fanatically. I’m one of them. But he’s being watched by everybody else too. If this were to be a teachable moment, maybe it’s that these stories are inspirational and understandable alone. But all together, they transcend the world of sports.”

For his part, Federico is now speaking out, on Twitter:

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 My career was taking off. Why would I throw that all away with a racist pun? This was an honest mistake.

And as it turns out, Federico and Lin have a lot in common, beyond Federico being a Knicks fan. He continues:

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.