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The Early Lead
Posted at 11:44 AM ET, 02/20/2012

Jeremy Lin says ESPN’s offensive references were unintentional

Jeremy Lin said he has moved on after ESPN punished two employees over the weekend for use of an ethnic slur about the New York Knicks’ Asian-American player.

“I don’t think it was on purpose or whatever, but they have apologized and so from my end I don’t care anymore,” Lin said in a TV interview after his 28-point, 14-assist performance in the Knicks’ 104- 97 victory over Dallas on Sunday. “[You] have to learn to forgive and I don’t even think that was intentional. Or hopefully not.”

ESPN apologized Saturday for the offensive headline that appeared on its mobile site briefly early Saturday morning and announced Sunday that the editor had been dismissed. In addition, the network said he had suspended anchor Max Bretos for 30 days for using the same expression earlier in the week. The network also said that the expression was used by a non-employee on ESPN Radio in New York.

Anthony Federico, the 28-year-old fired editor who wrote the headline, told the New York Daily News, “This had nothing to do with me being cute or punny. I’m so sorry that I offended people. I’m so sorry if I offended Jeremy.”

Federico, who said he has used the phrase “at least 100 times in headlines,” wrote the headline at about 2:30 a.m., as his shift was ending. Federico called Lin one of his heroes, on the court and for his religious faith.

“My faith is my life,” he said. “I’d love to tell Jeremy what happened and explain that this was an honest mistake.”

Bretos used the expression when he asked Walt Frazier in an interview about deficiencies in Lin’s game.

“Wanted 2 apologize 2 all those I have upset. Not done with any racial reference. Despite intention,phrase was inappropriate in this context,” Bretos tweeted. “My wife is Asian, would never intentionally say anything to disrespect her and that community. I have learned from this will make every effort to avoid something similar happening again.”

There will always moments, like Rex Chapman’s tweets about China and Lin, but with ESPN’s actions, Lin’s comments and the “Saturday Night Live” bit, can’t we try to move on to other matters concerning Lin, like respecting his request to give his family in Taiwan some privacy? And ... is Lin dating Kim Kardashian?

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By  |  11:44 AM ET, 02/20/2012

 
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