On #Linsanity: UPDATE! Now With 86% More Idiocy!

So, we here at Three Yards appreciate people’s moronic tendencies as much as the next satirical humor blog.

Honestly, the jokes write themselves. A half-awake monkey could do this job.

Even so, sometimes idiocy touches on topics we’ve written about, so we are obliged to share it with you and mock it openly. Case in point, Jeremy Lin. We wrote last week about the Taiwanese-American sensation who’s burning up the NBA with the New York Knicks. So much so, in fact, he spawned this YouTube date proposal from a well-meaning Florida State University sorority girl.

Just in case you’re not sure exactly what she’s talking about, we are happy to help out with an informative infographic:

Just so we’re clear. We wouldn’t want any misunderstandings.

Now, we’re not saying this nice, successful and obviously personable woman was completely wrong. Lin does play for a New York sports team, and is in fact an athlete. She was just, you know, a tad confused about his specific sport, first name, and FUCKING ETHNICITY. Also, promising “a good time with my sorority sisters, guaranteed (wink wink nudge nudge)” was probably not a great call, as Lin is a self-professed strongly faithful Christian. Banging sorority sluts and doing Jaeger Bombs? Probably not high on his priority list. We’re sure his publicist, upon seeing this video, had this reaction:

Boom. What a mess!

In any case, we’re not even done with the week’s idiocy regarding America’s new favorite “don’t make fun of his race because he’s a charming winning athlete, damnit!” darling.

ESPN, the pantheon of sports journalism, has fired one employee and suspended another over the headline posted on ESPN’s mobile site following Lin’s first loss as a Knicks starter, this past Friday.

Yup, that’s right. “Chink in the Armor.” Hehe.

ESPN apologized profusely, most likely after spending the first few minutes after the faux pas was called to their attention screaming “OHFUCKOHFUCKOHFUCKOHFUCK!” Meanwhile, the headline stayed up for about half an hour, allowing the Internet (depository of all human knowledge, whether or not it’s politically correct) to capture the offensive verbage for posterity. Thank you, Internet.

The apology went as such: “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.” But, this article brings up a few points:

“Chink in the armor” is an expression. In fact, it’s a commonly-used cliche in sports. It has been used on ESPN’s site over 3700 times, along with the phrase “Achilles’ heel” and words like“vulnerability,” “weakness” and “deficiency.”
And the phrase “chink in the armor” actually has nothing to do with Chinese people. It has to do with finding either a literal or figurative opening in someone’s either literal or figurative armor and using that to beat him or her. “Chink” is an actual word that means a narrow opening, crack or fissure, in addition to its racist meaning.

The piece goes on to raise the question “Is it okay to use this common phrase for non-Chinese athletes/celebrities/porn stars/Westminster-winning dogs?” Will it become completely anathema simply because, for a time, “chink” was used as a racist and derogatory term? As a sports journalist of sorts, we at Three Yards know the kind of editorial rigamarole it takes to put content on the Internet or a newspaper or pamphlet or anything, especially in a straight-news context like ESPN. Yes, timeliness is one of the hallmarks of decent reporting, but so is not being racist. More than likely, the editor/content publisher responsible for ESPN’s mobile site at 2:30 in the morning had a relatively short editing chain (timeliness, again, is key) but one doesn’t get into that sort of position without being responsible and having good judgement. Was the person responsible overtly being anti-Chinese? Probably not.

Should he have been fired? Probably not. In a perfect world, things like this would be investigated individually and the motives behind seemingly insensitive actions would be figured out. However, we don’t live in a perfect world, especially where journalism is concerned. Had ESPN not fired the people responsible (or at least said they did) there would be a public outcry the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Don Imus and his “nappy headed hoes.”

Only, with more torches and less creepy sexual undertone.

ESPN did what they had to do, apologized, and hopefully the whole mess will be forgotten by the time the Knicks beat LeBron James’ Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals in a few weeks. If not…then somebody screwed up again.

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2 responses to “On #Linsanity: UPDATE! Now With 86% More Idiocy!

  1. Come on! Chink in the armor? Tell me the writer didn’t mean that intentionally. Did you see this past Saturday’s SNL skit with the four sports reporters – two white guys and two black guys – spewing racially charged puns about Lin? The one white guy and two black guys made joke after joke about Lin’s ethnicity, but when it came to the last white guy, who never failed to make a racially charged pun about an African American player, they all jumped on his case? It was funny for sure. Well, this Chink in the Armor business reminded me of that. Like the writer got so caught up in the “Linsanity,” he forgot to ask himself whether his pun was appropriate, much like that final white guy. Anyway. All this Lin nonsense is too much for me. I’d say I don’t get it, but honestly, I DON’T CARE ABOUT PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL, let alone a player and a team outside my home state. Good for Lin. Really. Apparently, bad for ESPN.

    • That’s exactly my point; no one will know if the editor/content guy did it intentionally. He won’t come out and say “Yeah, I think Chinamen are funny,” because he’ll never work again.

      If it was intended as a pun, it’s racist. The only way it could possibly be a pun is if it’s racist. It was intended (I believe) as a “Lin is unbeatable, 7-0 like some sort of orange-and-blue clad knight, but now he lost so there’s a chink in his armor.” I’ve written sports headlines, it’s hard to avoid cliche, and sometimes you slip up.

      This story is not really about whether or not you give two shits about the NBA; personally, I only follow it because I’m a sports fan in general. I don’t have a team, but I pay enough attention to participate in the conversation. He’s a “heartwarming story,” sure, and unlike most NBA stars if it doesn’t work out he can fall backon his B.S. in Economics from freaking HARVARD. So, you’re right. Good for him.

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