Having a Moment of Linsanity

Posted: February 21, 2012 in Basketball, Multiculturalism/Social Justice

So I know that I generally do not comment on larger, worldly issues on this blog, but something at the end of last week really got to me. I do not follow the NBA that closely but, like most of the nation, I got a little wrapped up in Jeremy Lin and his rise to stardom with the New York Knicks. For a guy I had never heard of, his numbers were looking so good that he immediately became a candidate for MVP. Starting with his first game on February 4th, Lin won 7 straight games and averaged over 20 PPG. With Carmelo Anthony back from injury, he may not be able to keep the numbers up but has certainly gotten the attention of the league.

What got me steamed was an analyst with ESPN and the web developer who thought it was okay to use a racial slur for their headline story after the Knicks lost to the Hornets. The article was up for about 30 minutes before other news organizations caught the issue, reported on it and ESPN finally took it down. While the first comments were that ESPN was going to discover what happened and discipline the involved individuals, the reality is that more than a retraction and a discipling needed to happen. ESPN would rather not draw too much attention to the mistake/misjudgment, but either the sports organization or other news organizations need to use this issue as a teaching moment for the general public. There is some disagreement about the intentions of the writer and the issue of political correctness, but it sounded inappropriate (and my opinion is that it was WRONG). News organizations do less useful education and more sensationalized storytelling, but this was a prime opportunity to take positive step toward social and community development.

Let’s hope that ESPN and other commentators use more appropriate wording for their future headlines and stories and that people actually learn from this mistake/misjudgment about the real issues with discriminatory commentary.

This also occurred on the air…

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