Controversy was raised over the weekend after an ESPN reporter applied a racial slur to his headline, in an article about Jeremy Lin. Anthony Federico, the reporter who has now been fired from ESPN, has apologized and said that Lin, as an outspoken Christian, is actually his hero.
The headline, which read "***** in the Armor: Jeremy Lin's 9 Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-stopping Loss to Hornets," was published at 2:30 a.m., Saturday morning.
Federico began as an intern at ESPN in 2006, he told the Daily News that during his time at ESPN he had used the phrase within headlines "at least 100 times" and didn't think twice about applying to the article concerning Lin.
"Federico called Lin one of his heroes -- not just because he's a big Knicks fan, but because he feels a kinship with a fellow outspoken Christian," the Daily News stated. "My faith is my life," Federico said. "I'd love to tell Jeremy what happened and explain that this was an honest mistake."
Lin has in fact made several references to his faith. "Sometimes you come up against a mountain and you end up making the mountain seem bigger than God," he told the Mercury News following his rapid rise to stardom. Lin also spoke of his faith to the New York Post. When Lin was asked about his new loss of privacy, he said it was tough but added that it was a good platform. The Post then asked Lin what he would use that platform for.
"For God, for God's glory, and I think that's shown in a lot of different ways," Lin stated. "It simply could be the way I live my life, what I talk about in my interviews, what I talk about through social media. It could be what I do in my spare time, what I do through my foundation ... just a lot of different areas ... how I spend my offseason."
Federico took Twitter after news broke Monday morning. "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!" the reporter wrote. Federico is also the author of Must Be Nice, a book recounting his days in college.
He credited the success of his book to both his family and God. "Last and most important -- ineffable thanks to God. His mercy and love renews, uplifts, humbles, strengthens, challenges, redeems, emboldens and transforms us every day. Any traces of goodness in the book or in my life is directly and solely from Him and for His glory," he wrote.
Federico has repeated his apologies to the public and Lin. "ESPN did what they had to do," the reporter said in regards to being fired. "I'm so sorry that I offended people. I'm so sorry if I offended Jeremy," he stated.
Some fans stood up for the reporter, supporting his claim that the headline contained a frequently used term. "For the educated among us, the term is a perfectly legitimate way to describe a strategic weakness, as in an opening in the chain mail of an opponent's armor. For those that want to steal the language and be offensive or be offended so be it," wrote on the Daily blog.
Lin also remained unconvinced that the slur was intentional. "They've apologized, and so from my end, I don't care anymore," Lin said. "You have to learn to forgive, and I don't even think that was intentional."
ESPN fired Federico in response to criticism regarding his headline which some charged employed a racial slur.