Rep. Judy Chu on Monday slammed the racial slur used in an ESPN headline about NBA phenom Jeremy Lin, saying she did not believe the phrase “chink in the armor” was an innocent mistake.
The California Democrat said on MSNBC that the headline on the Saturday story about the New York Knicks breakout star was “appalling and offensive.” The writer’s word choice, Chu said, was intentional.
“I think that the use of the term is appalling and offensive,” she said on MSNBC. “The ‘c’ word is for Asian Americans like the ‘n’ word is for African Americans.”
ESPN editor Anthony Federico, who was fired on Sunday, told the New York Daily News that his headline — “Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin’s 9 Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-stopping Loss to Hornets” — had “nothing to do with me being cute or punny.”
“I’m so sorry that I offended people. I’m so sorry if I offended Jeremy,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lin weighed in during an interview on Sunday, saying he did not believe the headline was intentionally written to reference the racial slur.
“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. “Have to learn to forgive and I don’t even think that was intentional. Or hopefully not.”
Federico told the Daily News he had used the phrase hundreds of times in headlines over the years, a fact Chu called “extremely sad.”
Chu said Monday, “And if he was using it all those times, that is extremely sad. The word was used since the 1880s to demean Chinese Americans and to deprive them of rights, and it is used on playgrounds specifically to humiliate and to offend Asian Americans. So I don’t know where he’s been all this time.”