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SBD/February 22, 2012/Media
Poynter Review Examines ESPN's Actions Following Racial Slur Referencing Jeremy Lin
Published February 22, 2012
DO THE PUNISHMENTS FIT THE CRIMES? In N.Y., Richard Sandomir notes in "comparing the ESPN punishments, it is likely that Bretos got off lighter because he used the phrase live and had no time to take it back." But Federico "had time to rewrite the headline if he realized his error" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/22). In Sacramento, Brian Blomster writes, "This is about being mature enough to recognize that choosing a better word for a headline or phrase is a small price for helping maintain an environment that values all parts of a complicated whole." Instead of firing Federico and suspending Bretos, ESPN "should have made those responsible for the Lin fiasco undergo extensive diversity training and then put them back to work having learned a hard, valuable lesson" (SACBEE.com, 2/22). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes when it comes to Lin, "maybe the best thing for news media members is to avoid cliches" (USA TODAY, 2/22). SI.com’s Richard Deitsch wrote critics "can debate" the punishments handed out to Federico and Bretos, but what "isn't up for debate is the speed and proactive approach ESPN took soon after the offensive headline went up and down.” Fans heard from ESPN's “top digital content executive, it apologized on multiple platforms and the company's PR staff updated its statement multiple times.” ESPN can “often be clumsy with damage control as we saw in the Bruce Feldman situation” but in this case, the net “has been proactive” (SI.com, 2/21).
DEDES NOT SUSPENDED BY MSG: In N.Y., Marc Berman reports Dedes "has been disciplined but not suspended by MSG" for his remarks. An MSG Network statement read in part, "We took appropriate disciplinary action." Berman notes it is believed that Dedes "was fined and won’t miss any games." Meanwhile this is the "second strike for Dedes, in his first season with the Knicks after leaving the Lakers." He was "arrested for DWI on July 4 in the Hamptons" (N.Y. POST, 2/22).
UNIQUE COVERAGE FOR UNIQUE SITUATION: NBA.com’s David Aldridge wrote Lin's rise to fame “would not be covered the same way if a black kid did what Jeremy Lin is doing.” But it “wasn't covered the same way when Tiger Woods started doing what Jack Nicklaus did.” Aldridge: “That's the whole point. Jeremy Lin is different. ... Lin's ethnicity isn't the only thing that makes him different. And that's why his story, and his success, have resonated with so many people.” This story “transcends basketball, and if you don't believe that, you haven't been watching the ‘Today Show’ on NBC, or ‘Good Morning America’ on ABC, or reading that bastion of sports journalism, The Wall Street Journal” (NBA.com, 2/20).