Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

20 Feb 2012

MMQB: Luck and Griffin

In this week's Monday Morning Quarterback, Peter King shares insights on the draft's top two quarterbacks from his conversations with their collegiate head coaches. Raheem Morris also blames the Bucs' lack of success in 2011 compared to 2010 on not winning close games. King prefers to point out the Bucs didn't actually play many close games the second half of 2011 and questions Morris's fitness for another head coaching job. Stats are for losers!

Posted by: Tom Gower on 20 Feb 2012

67 comments, Last at 10 May 2012, 1:29pm by Captain DGAF

Comments

1
by Noah of Arkadia :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 2:05pm

Wow. The Bucs were 4-3 in games decided by a TD or less and he goes our and says that? Amazing.

------
We are number one. All others are number two, or lower.

8
by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 5:32pm

Analysis has never been PK's thing. He'll take 2+2 and come up with 5 every single time. His motivations are also frequently suspect given he relies on sources for his living--he must be under constant pressure to promote whatever message they want to get out there. He could be knowingly helping them or simply parroting whatever line they give him. Regardless, it seems clear that somebody wanted to get a parting shot at Morris.

2
by Mr Shush :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 3:49pm

Am I just incredibly naive to think the "chink in the armour" thing could easily have been a genuine innocent mistake? Is there some direct evidence that the person responsible actually intended the . . . pun, I guess?

3
by tuluse :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 4:00pm

When your job is to write headlines for the largest sports website in the world, and you probably have several editors checking your work, I don't think it matters if it's innocent or not.

Also, considering the fact that ESPN has basically been a Lin pun factory for the past 2 weeks, it's seems awfully coincidental.

4
by Anonymous a (not verified) :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 4:11pm

What if Lin were African-American, and the headline was "Black mark on Knick's record?"

Obviously a problem, right? Then consider that c**** is just short of n***** in offensiveness.

Finally, the job of an editor is to, well edit. He failed miserably at his job costing his company. End of story.

10
by Intropy :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 8:51pm

Obviously a problem? No. Not a problem at all. If he were white would it be a problem for the headline to read "Lin cracks under pressure?" In any case if the editor were intentionally making a racist pun, that's a problem; otherwise words mean things, and it's okay to use them.

13
by ASmitty :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 11:13pm

But you have to use common sense. It was a big picture of an Asian man with the headline "Chink in the armor" written across it. That's pathetically bad.

A huge portion of the Lin story is his race; there's no avoiding that. Take a historically white sport...let's say tennis. Now let's say a black tennis player burst onto the scene and generated a large swelling of pride in the black community, like the rise of the Williams sisters several years back. Now imagine that the black tennis player has a bad match, and ESPN plasters a big picture of him on the front page with the headline "Niggardly Performance." People would, and should, be outraged.

The fact that it may not have been intentional only makes it less wrong, it doesn't make it ok. At all. There are no "slips of the tongue" in published writing.

16
by Intropy :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 3:32am

"Niggardly Performance" doesn't even make sense, so you would have to conclude it was intentional. "Chink in the armor" is a common colloquialism used appropriately, albeit unfortunate in its coincidence with a racial epithet for the person being discussed. Let's say instead of a headline writer he was an mayoral aide and referred to a budget as "niggardly." Problem?

17
by argus :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 9:45am
19
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 10:36am

That's funny. In pretty much every case, the general conclusion has been that the word *is* perfectly acceptable, and it's lamentable at the ill-education and general ignorance of those who complain.

But perhaps this racist perception is the chink in niggardly's armor. I'll bet it will take a whopping long time to repair that crack.

25
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 11:02am

It seems to me that the take-home is more that the acceptability or otherwise of each case is determined by intent. But then, my cultural attitudes are anchored on the other side of an ocean in a country with less racially charged discourse, so maybe that's just a slimey dodge.

62
by Kevin from Philly :: Thu, 02/23/2012 - 3:39pm

Aren't you from England? I thought they just had race riots all over the country just a few months ago.

66
by Mr Shush :: Sun, 02/26/2012 - 7:39am

Riots, yes. Race riots, no. Many of the rioters were black, but many were white too - that just reflects the ethnic make-up of the parts of London where they mostly took place (there were riots in a few cities other than London, but on a vastly smaller scale). Mostly it was a bunch of teenagers realizing that if enough of them smashed the place up and stole things at the same time there wouldn't be enough police to deal with it. But it was equal opportunities, essentially apolitical, arson/vandalism/looting.

34
by Steve in WI :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 6:33pm

Yeah, the difference is that except for the phonetic similarity to a racial slur, "niggardly" has absolutely no offensive history. I do wonder about the general appropriateness of "chink in the armor," though; I would avoid using that expression at all if I was publishing something. I don't believe the expression began as a racial slur but nowadays I think people are more likely than not to associate the word with the racial insult.

I have to admit that it bothers me how many people want to stamp out of the use of any remotely inflammatory word, even when it's clearly not being used in a derogatory context (and in fact, is sometimes being used correctly, such as "niggardly"). I'm sure most of us have heard about the campaign to stop using "retarded" as an insult, but my mind is boggled that some people want to ban the word entirely, even if it's being used in the correct context and isn't referring to a person.

35
by tuluse :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 6:47pm

I don't think anyone wants to ban the word chink or even the expression chink in the armor. Just in the context of referring to an Asian.

39
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 11:34pm

I personally hate the anti-retarded crowd. Retarded means "slowed." It is not inherently offensive. If we ban it now then in 20 years we'll have to ban the words "disabled" and "challenged" while we come up will even more redundant terminology.

48
by vcn (not verified) :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 3:04pm

And the worry is that we'll run out of words?

Yes, "retarded" has become a slur because of misuse. That doesn't mean that members of the affected group should have no choice but to accept that slur.

I have no patience with people who think that stopping the slow evolution of English is more important than not being a jerk on the basis of something that's out of someone's control.

People who compute for a living can no longer be called "computers" without confusion. Something that's full of long, thin ruts can hardly be referred to as "groovy." "Bad," in certain contexts, means "good"; "cool" and "hot" are often synonymous; 'lousy' has nothing to do with lice; and an "escalator" now refers solely to a type of mechanical stairs. None of this is a problem!

But somehow, when people say, "Hey, can you find a word for 'no good' that isn't constantly used to insult me for my medical condition?", people get up in arms.

53
by PatsFan :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 5:32pm

The point is that people just move on to another slur, so you haven't accomplished much by getting people to stop using word X.

If people want to cast slurs at some group they are going to do it. I don't see much difference between the slur word remaining X vs. the slur word shifting to Y and then to Z, etc.

56
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Thu, 02/23/2012 - 12:32am

Yes, exactly. All you're doing by banning the word is encouraging people to use the new word as a slur, so you're just turning more neutral words into slurs.

59
by Jerry :: Thu, 02/23/2012 - 4:22am

So if we were to arbitrarily start referring to bad fans as "Patriot fans", you'd be happy to accept that because we'd just move on to another slur otherwise? The problem with using "retarded" as an insult is that not only are you insulting your intended target, who you'll deliberately insult with whatever slur you choose, but you're also (perhaps inadvertently) insulting people who are retarded through no fault of their own.

61
by PatsFan :: Thu, 02/23/2012 - 10:58am

What have you actually accomplished by saying "No no no! You can't use 'Patriot Fans' as a slur!" only to have them move onto using "Steelers Fans" as a slur, and then "Packer Fans" as a slur, and then "Colts Fans" as a slur?

64
by Intropy :: Fri, 02/24/2012 - 2:14am

You guys are talking about two different things.

1. Using a slur against a group that is the target of that slur.
2. Using a term associated with some group as a generic slur not necessarily when referencing that group.

65
by Ranccor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/24/2012 - 10:07pm

What Intropy said.

For example, you might hear some kid say, "My statistics teacher is retarded." Meaning that the statistics teacher is just bad in a general sort of way. But you are probably not going to hear someone say, "My statistics teacher is a chink," unless the teacher is actually Chinese and the person wants to be a racist asshole.

44
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 9:18am

Seems unlikely. Overlapping mail was introduced into China from foreign sources. The odds that a reference to a fatal hole in armor waited until a Germanic-language tribe ran into armored Chinese troops for the expression to come into existence beggars belief.

55
by mansteel (not verified) :: Thu, 02/23/2012 - 12:18am

Oh, and so now it's OK to slur the indigent? You insensitive bastard.

60
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 02/23/2012 - 9:22am

There's nothing wrong with my father's refusal to acknowledge my birth!

18
by ASmitty :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 10:31am

Yes, still a problem. Particularly if it was the first African-American mayoral aide in recent memory, and stories for the past few weeks were focused at least in part on his race.

While "chink in the armor" may be a common colloquialism, there are dozens of common colloquialisms that mean the same thing that don't contain a double-entendre racial slur.

I can give the anchor a break because he was speaking at least partially extemporaneously, but this was published writing. There are editiors, and you get ample time to think before you hit send. Even if it wasn't malicious, it was certainly incompetant.

Moreoever, it was just the most recent in a string of similar events. After Lin hit the game winner in Toronto "Amasian!" was the headline in the Post. During MSG's broadcast of one of New York's games, a graphic featured Lin's head emerging from a fortune cookie. Jason Whitlock made a tweet insinuating Lin's penis was two inches long. Chink in the armor. It goes on and on.

The SNL cold open the other night was pretty much pitch perfect. The comfort level the media has had with racial jokes concerning asian stereotypes the past few weeks has bordered on ludicrous.

20
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 10:38am

Moreoever, it was just the most recent in a string of similar events. After Lin hit the game winner in Toronto "Amasian!" was the headline in the Post.

Yeah, but that's the Post. If they don't have an offensive pun somewhere in a headline the editors get fired.

23
by ASmitty :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 10:45am

Ha. I actually thought that one was pretty clever because of the connection between "american" "asian" and "amazing," but still was a little uneasy with the focus on his ethnicity and what it might mean down the road. Unfortunately, a week later we have heads coming out of fortune cookies and chinks in the armor.

50
by Boo-urns (not verified) :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 3:28pm

For your analogy to work, you'd need for the white person to be a minority in a country where jokes about being white are commonplace. You'd also need the word to be much more offensive than crack (referring to cracker).

Maybe something like a white dude in China being the subject of a headline like "Hairy win for the Knicks" (since white people are stereotyped as excessively hairy over there).

Yes, it could be a coincidence. But ultimately, it's such an obvious double entendre that for a headline writer to let that go through means he made a big enough mistake that it's grounds for firing.

5
by Southern Philly :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 4:42pm

For the suspended anchor, yeah it was a mistake.

For the headline writer... maybe. Remember, puns are often a part of headlines.

6
by mawbrew :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 5:19pm

Unless the guy was trying to get fired, I've got to believe this was completely unintentional. I think it's pretty rare to hear the term used in an offensive way, so easy for me to imagine it just never occured to the guy writing the headline.

31
by RickD :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 5:20pm

This really doesn't pass the laugh test.

Some headline writer thought he'd get clever and used the phrase "Chink in the armor" regarding Jeremy Lin.

"Chink in the armor" is really not a phrase you hear often in the context of basketball. This was obviously intended to be a clever headline using deniably racist language.

The analogy to "niggardly" fails because "niggardly" is a word that has not historically been used in a derisive, racist sense, while "chink" definitely has that history.

Furthermore, ESPN had already used exactly that phrase to describe an Olympic basketball game in China, and had already been criticized for doing so.

49
by vcn (not verified) :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 3:09pm

Agreed. I tried doing a Lexis-Nexus search to see how often the phrase is used in sports journalism. I'm lousy at L-N, but I couldn't find much this side of the pond.

51
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 3:30pm

I don't even know what Lexis-Nexus is, so you're one step ahead of me, but my gut is that on my side of the Atlantic it's reasonably common, in sports journalism and elsewhere.

7
by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 5:21pm

After reading the fired editor's comments and learning a bit about his background, I'm leaning towards it having been an accident...though a truly boneheaded one. I think outright firing him was overly harsh and just another sacrifice to the PC gods.

9
by Marko :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 8:42pm

Well said. I completely agree.

If the editor had used the word intentionally, then his firing would be completely justified. I think King's comment was ridiculous in that he presumes to know that the headline writer intended to be "cute" and used the word purposefully. After reading the story today about the editor, I think it was an honest mistake and that firing him was a severe overreaction by ESPN.

11
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 9:16pm

It is highly unlikely that the headline was an accident. ESPN isn't quite like a NY tabloid when it comes to punny headlines, but it's close. They love plays on words. There is nothing anyone can say to convince me that I'm wrong about this.

32
by RickD :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 5:22pm

I've known a lot of people who can offer seemingly sincere apologies after doing things that I know were done on purpose. The transformation from doing something sneaky and feigning innocence after being caught is a well-worn path.

36
by TomKelso :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 7:36pm

Since the job of an editor is to review copy and headlines to make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen, he totally failed to do his job and embarrassed himself and his company.

If that isn't grounds for getting fired, I don't know what is. Complaining about PC gods is just a smokescreen for people who think he really didn't do anything wrong.

Being so bad at your job so publicly has nothing to do with the PC straw man -- what can you fire someone for, if not incompetence?

42
by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 1:26am

Exactly. I am all on board other peoples distaste and the PCization of our language. People looking down on those using "retarded" and the like is just stupid and just leads to linguistic creep.

AT the same time, his job is to make sure things like this don't happen. That is a core part of his job and he failed. So I don't think people SHOULD care, but given that people do care ESPN is perfectly right to fire him.

57
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Thu, 02/23/2012 - 12:37am

No one is saying that the phrase "chink in the armor" is inherently offensive or that it should never be used. People are only upset because of the unfortunate (and many people believe intentional) conjunction of that phrase with Lin.

37
by Theo :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 7:38pm

Downplaying 101 nowadays:
Say you're sorry, state your religious beliefs and enjoy your new fame.

12
by Nathan :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 10:55pm

If you think the headline was an accident you don't know anyone in copywriting. They literally come up with headline puns for a living. Go grab a magazine, flip through it and note how many of the headlines are a pun or a play on a movie, book, song title etc.

15
by Marko :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 12:07am

While that is obviously true and pretty much common knowledge, it does not follow that every headline is meant to be a pun or a play on words.

Have you read this story in which the headline writer was interviewed? http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/knicks/jeremy-lin-slur-hone...

Note that Max Bretos, the ESPNEWS anchor who used the same phrase in interviewing Clyde Frazier about Lin (and was suspended for 30 days), is married to an Asian woman. As noted in the linked article, "The moment passed almost entirely without notice. A video replay suggests Bretos was not trying to be funny but made a poor choice of colloquialism."

It seems obvious that Bretos didn't use that phrase as a slur. Isn't it possible that the headline writer similarly just made an unfortunate choice of words without any malice? Until this controversy arose, I literally hadn't heard anyone use that slur in about 30 years and probably wouldn't have even thought of it as offensive if I had seen the headline or heard the interview live. And I consider myself someone who is very sensitive to such matters. (In fact, a couple of years ago on this website, I remember there was either an article or a comment that referred to something as a "Chinese fire drill." I commented that the term was extremely inappropriate and offensive. Several people responded that they didn't realize or think that it was offensive at all.)

Of course, it would be different if there was something to call attention to the word, such as if Bretos had emphasized the word when asking the question, or if the headline had emphasized the word by putting it in quotes (or in all CAPS, in italics, etc.). Absent that, how can we know that the headline writer did this with malice. He is only 28 years old. He may not have even realized that word is a racial slur.

22
by ASmitty :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 10:41am

"It seems obvious that Bretos didn't use that phrase as a slur. Isn't it possible that the headline writer similarly just made an unfortunate choice of words without any malice?"

I think it's very possible, but as I stated upthread, if it was accidental than it was certainly incompetant.

"Until this controversy arose, I literally hadn't heard anyone use that slur in about 30 years and probably wouldn't have even thought of it as offensive if I had seen the headline or heard the interview live."

Maybe it's where I live, but I'm very familiar with that particular slur, and am the same age as the headline writer. I admit that I too may have missed it listening to an interview, but I saw the headline when it was up, and my jaw nearly hit the keyboard. When I was talking to my father the other day (who is not always the paragon of racial political correctness), he asked what all the fuss was about, and when I told him the headline he immediately said "Oh my God...someone's getting fired for that."

Personally, I believe it was a mistake, but mistakes have consequences too.

24
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 10:54am

On reading that interview, I really do find it pretty hard to believe that it was intentional. Anyone doing this intentionally would have to know there was a good chance they'd be fired, and would therefore presumably have to be either disgruntled with their job (which it doesn't appear he was) and the sort to stir trouble for the lulz (which to me doesn't seem likely in an "outspoken Christian" whose "faith is [his] life") or making a political point they were passionate about (in which case why the apology?). Lin himself appears to think it was a mistake.

It must have looked awful, and I can understand why people were offended (and their taking of offense is far more reasonable than in some of the Hamlet III.i cases) but I'm reasonably convinced that this is a case of unduly harsh punishment for a genuinely innocent mistake.

26
by ASmitty :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 11:13am

I agree that it was genuinely a mistake, but that doesn't make the punishment too harsh. This has caused a massive amount of grief for ESPN, who has gotten brutally beaten up in the media for this, and has had to devote front page space on their website and airtime on virtually all of their programs to apologizing for the headline. If I made a mistake at work that caused my employer worldwide embarrassment and required an all-fronts PR response, I would expect to be fired.

27
by tuluse :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 11:49am

His job is to write headlines for one of the largest news sites in the world. It doesn't matter if it was a mistake or not. It's his job to not write racially insensitive material.

28
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 12:38pm

I'd say he was now less likely to make such a mistake again than just about anyone else they could possibly hire . . .

29
by tuluse :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 12:41pm

I'm would guess since a dude just got fired for this, everyone is going to be writing on egg shells.

33
by RickD :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 5:25pm

You don't have to walk on eggshells to know that you don't use the word "chink" under a photo of a Chinese-American basketball player.

45
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 9:20am
54
by Dean :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 6:10pm

Dude, the Chinaman is not the issue here. Also, Asian-American, please.

(been waiting 2 days for a chance to put that reference in!)

14
by justanothersteve :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 11:53pm

Come on. I know it's PK, but he had one thing about football seriously worth discussing and almost all the comments here are about a Jeremy Lin faux pas.

Goodell is still talking about an 18 game schedule and well before the current contract expires. Didn't we just go through this? All I can guess is that almost every owner wants it and is pissed it didn't happen yet. Was that CBA last season a mirage? I thought that was the big sticking point and the owners gave in.

21
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 10:40am

I doubt we'll see an 18-game schedule until the concussion class-action lawsuits get resolved.

30
by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 1:39pm

I think the emphasis on concussions is going to forever kill the 18-game schedule idea. Unless some incredible advancement in helmets or something came along, it's simply not going to fly to push for more games on the one hand while claiming to be all about player safety on the other.

43
by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 1:33am

I actually don't buy this at all. If the difference between 16 games and 18 games is enough of a safety concern that you shouldn't do it, then you shouldn't be having the football season at all period. I cannot see the league conceding or making that argument at all.

People need to be way less worked up about this. They are all adults and it is not a big deal one way or the other. So a few extra millionaire athletes die a decade early and have a lower quality of life? La-di-da. The world isn't all ponies and lollipops.

Just to be clear I am fine with substantially changing the rules to increase player safety, but it is clear most fans and players are not, and that is fine because it simply isn't that big a deal.

38
by Christopher (not verified) :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 8:58pm

This is perhaps the most idiotic thing in the world to fire someone for. Using a common, inoffensive phrase (who in the world ever uses the slur? That's right, no one.) correctly should never even come close to a firing offense, no matter how much some people with nothing better to do howl about it. If we had to ban every word that has ever been used in a derogatory way, we would have to ban just about every word in the entire English language.

On a more football related topic, Griffin has been massively overhyped these last few months. He has some positives, and a pretty high ceiling, but he is a project QB. I wouldn't pick a project in the Top 3; that's just crazy. The most similar recent draft pick was Kaepernick* (and I like Kaepernick).

Luck is a worthy first overall, but is far from flawless. He's accurate, has a good arm, and makes good decisions. His ceiling isn't lower than Griffin's either; Luck could be the next Peyton Manning* (and I'm not just saying that because the Colts are going to pick him). The most similar recent draft pick is Cam Newton* (and I'm not just saying that because Cam Newton had a good year. I made this comparison last year before the draft. I thought Cam was, as a thrower, a slightly poor man's Andrew Luck).

*Caution: This comes from a person who thinks that Priest Holmes and Jerome Bettis had very similar running styles.

40
by ASmitty :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 12:03am

So a headline writer that writes a headline that causes an international incident for his employer is "the most idiotic thing in the world to fire someone for"? What SHOULD someone get fired for?

Also: "who in the world ever uses the slur? That's right, no one."

This leads me to believe that you are not Asian American, or even that you are simply not from a heavily integrated area. It's no less common that calling a black person the proverbial n-word. In the Bay Area I heard this pretty frequently, more-so than I heard the n-word when I lived in South Carolina. Hell, my yes, Asian-American child has heard it from toddlers. And let me be clear: it is hurtful and offensive.

46
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 11:22am

"What SHOULD someone get fired for?"

Failing to pass on signal intercepts indicating an imminent attack on Pearl Harbour? That non-firing worked out pretty well, though: Turner was really quite valuable over the remainder of the war.

58
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Thu, 02/23/2012 - 12:41am

They named a ship after him? Seriously? That's just... wrong, somehow.

63
by Kevin from Philly :: Thu, 02/23/2012 - 3:51pm

The Navy has a lot of ships - they have to name them after somebody.

41
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 12:54am

Re: Jeremy Lin headline

There is almost no way the writer did not know that Chink could be construed as racist. However, I do not necessarily think he did it to personally attack Lin. The first thing I thought of was Scrubs where the Janitor is doing a crossword puzzle. The clue is "a blank in one's armor." JD responds Chink quite loudly and the Janitor moves to reveal an Asian man standing nearby. It was a funny throwaway line that set up a story arc.

If a headline writer wrote "Gypped!" regarding a Romani player, would there be a similar reaction, or would people pass it off as colloquial?

Consider that Jeremy Lin was not offended. Secondary offense is getting a little out of hand.

47
by vcn (not verified) :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 2:22pm

"Gypped" is also a racial slur, about a population that is devastated by socially acceptable racism. The Romani face job discrimination, lack of access to social services, and racially motivated violent assault. The word is far from the most significant of their worries, yes, but it normalizes a set of attitudes that are horrifying. If a publication turned that into a joke, I would be offended, yes.

The larger problem is that intent isn't magical. Whether the person intended to make a racist joke, slipped out of subconscious bigotry, or didn't even know the phrase was a slur doesn't change anything: intent doesn't change the effects of the slur on the people affected. Intent doesn't prevent people from internalizing racialized discourse; it doesn't exclude people who grew up hearing that term from being hurt by it; and it certainly doesn't mean this whole discussion should go away.

Lin, of course, can't say that he's offended without losing fans, even if he is. And, even taking him at his word, he's not exactly the only one affected by the systematic racism surrounding his discussion in the media.

52
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 3:31pm

I showed a lady at work a picture of the headline. She was not offended. She did not know that Chink could be used racially.

She, being a Hungarian Jew, said what she finds racist: "When somebody says 'I got Jewed, I get upset.'" So I asked her, "What about saying 'I got gypped?'" Her response? She had no idea it came as a derogatory for Gypsies.

It is very possible, though not likely, that this young writer was unaware that Chink was derogatory, just as it is very possible, and believable, that my co-worker did not know the origin of Gypped.

Unfortunately, in language, inflection and intent are everything. If we are to ban every word and every phrase that can be taken as offensive, we have larger problems than we realize.

Consider this truth: there are people who are offended by the words cockpit and stewardess. I am sure you find that ridiculous, much as I do. Note, cockpit has been around for hundreds of years, and only in the last 100 has it been used for aviation; only in the last, say, 20 has it been considered offensive. (This is due to the word pillicock [shortened later to cock], which is an obscenity for penis, and could be upwards of 700 years old.) Stewardess, first appearing in the 1800s, makes it nearly 200 years old; again, only in the 20 or so years has it been considered offensive.

Race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, ancestry: all of these things have language about them, and a lot of that language can be considered obscene to one party or another. I can only empathize with people that are offended by these things because I am an average white male; however, that does not mean that I am completely disrespectful when I say "get over it." If you are a minority, you are still a person. If you are a woman, you are still a person. If you are religious in some way, you are still a person. If you are homosexual, you are still a person. If you descend from some previously downtrodden group of people, you are still a person. And again, as a person, get over it.

67
by Captain DGAF (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2012 - 1:29pm

So, uh, what do you guys think of Luck and Griffin?