ESPN has fired the employee responsible for a racially charged Jeremy Lin-inspired headline on their mobile site. They have also handed a 30-day suspension to their network anchor who used the term 'chink in the armor' to refer to Lin. In their statement this morning they said:
We again apologize, especially to Mr. Lin. His accomplishments are a source of great pride to the Asian-American community, including the Asian-American employees at ESPN. Through self-examination, improved editorial practices and controls, and response to constructive criticism, we will be better in the future.
The network clearly took this issue as seriously as could possibly be expected of them. This review and action must have taken an inordinate number of ESPN executives hours to discuss and vet. The fact that they did it over a long holiday weekend, when the news cycle is slower and many of them are enjoying a couple days off, speaks volumes.
Plus, the dismissal of an employee, particularly in this economy, is a harsh outcome that clearly conveys the serious nature with which ESPN approached this issue. I know people were demanding that "heads roll" over this incident. I personally hate to see people lose their job over a mistake, so I'm hoping ESPN found that the headline was intentionally racially charged, as that would certainly be grounds for the most serious of action.
An ESPN spokesperson graciously declined a question about the nature of their internal findings.