An ESPN writer posted a headline on ESPN’s mobile web site that read “Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin’s 9 Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-stopping Loss to Hornets” and was promptly fired for it.
ASSHOLE, DUMBASS, OR DUMB-ASSHOLE?
I honestly don’t believe this writer was out to offend anyone. I think it’s merely the case of a writer who didn’t think about the consequences of his words before he wrote them, proofed them, and posted them. Because if he did, it should have gone something like this…
The potential outcomes of including the pun “Chink in the Armor” in my headline about an Asian basketball player and the odds of them occurring:
- Winning the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting because I provided “a distinguished example of explanatory reporting that illuminates a significant and complex subject, demonstrating mastery of the subject, lucid writing and clear presentation, using any available journalistic tool including text reporting, videos, databases, multimedia or interactive presentations or any combination of those formats, in print or online or both” (ODDS: 999,999,999,999 to 1)
- Getting promoted because I added insightful commentary to a feel-good sports story about overcoming racial barriers that’s very profitable for my employer (ODDS: 1,000,000 to 1)
- Getting fired because I debased a feel-good sports story about overcoming racial barriers that’s very profitable for my employer (ODDS: 1 to 20)
- Never getting another legitimate writing job anywhere because I debased a feel-good sports story about overcoming racial barriers that’s very profitable for my employer (ODDS: 1 to 10)
- Getting hired by Fox News for my potential to be “Fair & Balanced” (ODDS: 1 to 1)
- Getting hired by a British tabloid for my pun-tential (ODDS: 1 to 5)
If this writer had put any significant thought into his pun, he would have realized that he had everything to lose and not much to gain in writing it. It’s not like he was an unknown blogger trying to make a name for himself. He was working for the New York Yankees of his profession, and he pissed it away. You could say his firing was a well-deserved pun-ishment.