Something Pleasant Happened, For Once: Jeremy Lin Met With Fired ESPN Headline Writer

Last month, the world imploded (for a little while anyway) when ESPN writer Anthony Frederico penned a headline about Asian-American basketball player Jeremy Lin with the phrase “chink in the armor.” He said he simply meant that Lin had screwed up his winning streak for the Knicks, but was promptly fired amid cries of racism. Federico said he didn’t realize “chink” was a racist slur, certainly didn’t intend to use it that way, and had used the phrase “chink in the armor” a bunch of other times when referring to non-Asian players messing up their game. If you missed the giant-ass kerfluffle in the media, you must have been in a coma.  

This Tuesday, Jeremy Lin took Frederico out to lunch to chat. “It went incredible,” Federico told Newsday. “The fact that he took the time to meet with me in his insanely busy schedule … He’s just a wonderful, humble person. He didn’t have to do that, especially after everything had kind of died down for the most part.”

A member of Jeremy Lin’s family reached out to Federico over a month ago and tried to put the two in touch, but struggled with the b-baller’s busy schedule. Lin finally had an off-day from the Knicks, so the two men met for an hour-long lunch in New York City. According to Federico, the boys chatted about “their shared Christian faith and Lin’s knee injury.” Lin has declined to talk publicly about the incident.

Amelia and I debated about whether to cover their lunch on The Frisky. We don’t cover sports stuff unless it has to do with ladies and I’m fairly sure both of us thought the Knicks were a bocce team. But this “reconciliation,” as Federico put it, is something worth celebrating. They had a dialogue. All too often in society today, we just scream at each other and scream at each other and scream at each other some more. But just like after  the Henry Louis Gates/Boston cop “beer summit back in 2009, there is always a way to see each other’s point of view and listen. In both cases, two men met each other as human beings, not as subjects in the thousands of headlines they spawned.

We don’t know exactly what Jeremy Lin and the fired ESPN headline writer talked about, but that’s not the point. The point is, they talked about it calmly, like adults. Jeremy Lin may be a very talented bocce basketball player indeed, but ultimately, I am impressed that he seems like a decent, forgiving and kind human being.


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