Bloomberg News

ESPN Apologizes, Fires Employee Over Knicks’ Lin Reference

February 21, 2012

Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN apologized for inappropriate references to New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, and said it fired an employee responsible for sending one such headline on its ESPN.com mobile site.

A headline appeared early yesterday morning following the Knicks’ 89-85 loss to the New Orleans Hornets using a common phrase that could be construed as a racial slur, ESPN said. ESPN said the headline was removed 35 minutes after it was posted.

The sports channel also said an anchor for ESPNNews has been suspended for 30 days after using an inappropriate word in asking a question about Lin. A similar reference was made Feb. 17 by a radio commentator on ESPN Radio New York, the network said.

“We again apologize, especially to Mr. Lin. His accomplishments are a source of great pride to Asian-American community, including the Asian-American employees at ESPN,” ESPN said in the statement.

Lin, a second-year point guard with an economics degree from Harvard University, led the Knicks to a seven-game winning streak before the loss to the Hornets. On Feb. 14, he became the only player to score more than 20 points and win each of his first five starts since the National Basketball Association merged with the American Basketball Association in 1976.

He is the NBA’s first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent.

--Editors: Joe Sabo, Dex McLuskey.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Hart in Washington at dahart@bloomberg.net

To contact the reporter on this story: Sylvia Wier at swier@bloomberg.net


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