Anthony Federico Apology Claims Racist Jeremy Lin ESPN Headline Was 'Honest Mistake'
After Jeremy Lin committed nine turnovers during the Knicks' recent loss to the New Orleans Hornets, ESPN promoted an article about the game on mobile platforms with a photo of Lin and the headline "Chink In The Armor." Within hours of publishing the racially offensive headline, ESPN issued a formal apology. Shortly thereafter, ESPN announced the firing of the editor responsible for the headline, Anthony Federico.
After the Knicks won their next game against the Dallas Mavericks, Lin told reporters that he accepted the ESPN apology, saying, "[You] have to learn to forgive, and I don't even think that was intentional. Or hopefully not."
Federico spoke with The Daily News, apologizing for his actions and claiming that his use of phrase was not intended as a reference to Lin's ethnicity. Expanding on his statements to the News, Federico tweeted a much longer apology on Wednesday.
I wrote the headline in reference to the tone of the column and not to Jeremy Lin’s race. It was a lapse in judgment and not a racist pun. It was an awful editorial omission and it cost me my job.
I owe an apology to Jeremy Lin and all people offended. I am truly sorry.
Actions speak louder than words. My words may have hurt people in that moment but my actions have always helped people. If those who vilify me would take a deeper look at my life they would see that I am the exact opposite of how some are portraying me.
After his initial apology, Federico's statement goes on to detail his charitable work, as well the philanthropies that he has participated in throughout his life.
They would see that on the day of the incident I got a call from a friend – who happens to be homeless – and rushed to his aid. He was collapsed on the side of the road due to exposure and hunger. They would see how I picked him up and got him a hotel room and fed him. They would see I used my vacation time last year to volunteer in the orphanages of Haiti. They would see how I ‘adopted’ an elderly Alzheimer’s patient and visited him every week for a year. They would see that every winter I organize a coat drive for those less fortunate in New Haven. They would see how I raised $10,000 for a friend in need when his kids were born four months premature. They would see how I have worked in soup kitchens and convalescent homes since I was a kid. They would see my actions speak louder than my words. They would see that these acts were not done for my glory, but for God’s. They would see that each day I live and will continue to live a life of joy and service.
Attempting to emphasize that the headline was an "honest mistake," Federico referenced his five years at ESPN. He explains that his career was "taking off" and that he had no motivation to throw it all away with such a racist pun. Despite his attempt to give a better accounting of his character than his recent mistake would, Federico never shirks his responsibility in this matter.
It is also crucial that people know that the writer of the column had nothing to do with the headline. I wrote it and now I take responsibility for it.
I am actually a Knicks fan and an ardent supporter of Jeremy Lin. Not surprisingly, he has handled the entire situation with grace and class.
Now I have to find a new job and move on with my life.