ESPN’s PR Nightmare
As I mentioned last week, you can’t bring up sports, the NBA or Harvard with out hearing the name Jeremy Lin. He has proved himself as the underdog story of the decade and that hard work does pay off. ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports news, has constantly been covering this story for the past month. Everyone wants to know Lin’s background and how he could be dominating the NBA, when a month ago no one even knew who he was.
Then, on Saturday morning, the ESPN website had the horrible radical slur was up for the world to see for about 30 minutes. Sports analyst, Anthony Federico for ESPN mistakenly said the racial slur that was heard across the country. In a time when most people like to think that our country has overcome prejudice and racial stereotypes, comments like this sparks emotion and debate. The controversy behind the statement goes beyond finding out if it was incorrectly said and or why was it said. After the statement was said on air, ESPN issued an apology saying that the writer was fired and the analyst who said it was suspended.
As Dwayne Flichum explains in his article, “Sports Heroes: Building Brand Through Performance,” its amazing for the NBA to have such a positive role model like Lin dominating the league. In the past we have seen more negative stories about profession athletes, so when someone like Lin comes around it’s extremely sad unfortunate that racial slurs are connected to his name, instead of his character and athletic ability.
I don’t think that it matters if he meant to say it or not. The bottom line is that a derogatory term was used and ESPN was put in a lose-lose situation. If he wasn’t fired then the company is seen as a racist organization and when he was some saw, some saw that as an over reaction. I also think that its sad that race is even a topic of discussion when talking about Lin. I think that ESPN should focus more on his abilities on the basketball court, more so than anything else.
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