After Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks fell to the second-to-last-place New Orleans Hornets on Friday night, ESPN editor Anthony Federico accidentally employed a racial slur in his headline when describing Lin's multiple mistakes on the court. The headline -- Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin's 9 Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-Stopping Loss to Hornets -- appeared briefly on ESPN's mobile website early Saturday morning, between 2:30 and 3:05 a.m.
This had nothing to do with me being cute or punny, Federico told the NY Daily News. I'm so sorry that I offended people. I'm so sorry if I offended Jeremy.
In response, ESPN swiftly fired Federico and also suspended SportsCenter anchor Max Bretos for a 30-day period for using the same expression on the air.
My wife is Asian, would never intentionally say anything to disrespect her and that community, Bretos tweeted. Despite intention, phrase was inappropriate in this context.
ESPN did what they had to do, Federico said. I had a career that I was proud of. I'm devastated that I caused a firestorm.
The firestorm mostly manifested itself in outraged e-mails, tweets, and comments about the reporters responsible, but one video made by Idiot Culture, the two-man comedy team run by Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) veterans Matt Mayer and Shaun Diston, goes right after the source: ESPN.
Idiot Culture's first-ever video, Racist Jeremy Lin Headline Aftermath, has amassed almost 11,000 views in two days because of how it pokes fun -- not at Lin, but at ESPN's handling of Lin.
We wrote that on Saturday afternoon because that story, the whole 'Chink in the Armor' thing from ESPN, went up that day, Mayer said. We saw it and we were just so outraged. We could not believe what we were seeing.
Mayer and Diston, who are writing partners as well as roommates, discussed the story and ESPN's role in the situation.
We were just chatting about it and we thought about people who can't help themselves, even though they're in a position where they have to be responsible, Mayer said. We thought that could be really funny.
Mayer and Diston wrote the idea together, figured out how everyone should react to the situation in the video, and called upon their friends -- a mix of comedians and actors -- to perform in the video sketch as ESPN reporters.
Idiot Culture filmed in an office space in UCB's Training Center in Midtown Manhattan, the very same room where the UCB filmed one of its most popular video sketches parodying BP's reaction to the oil spill, which has amassed more than 12 million views.
Mayer, who shot and directed the inaugural Idiot Culture video, said filming began on Saturday at about 9:30 p.m. and wrapped at about 1 a.m. the next morning. With Diston's help, Mayer edited the film all day Sunday and uploaded the finished video on Feb. 20.
The racist headlines were not the important part, Mayer said. They were just fuel for the machine, and the machine spit out these shameful reactions, like self-disgust. And that's what was funny to us.
In the video, fake ESPN reporters suggest other usable Jeremy Lin headlines, but every idea just comes out racist. Idiot Culture ended up using more than 20 different offensive Jeremy Lin headlines in its video -- including zingers like Seven Sweet Lins, One Sour Loss, Lin Dynasty Over, and No Happy Ending for the Knicks -- but Mayer and Diston can't take all of the credit for those punny one-liners.
We came up with a few of them, but when actors came in, everybody sat around together making up a bunch of them, Mayer said. We wrote them all on a dry erase board. We'd refer to the dry erase board, and but some people just wrote ideas down themselves. When the camera was on them, sometimes they'd say what they had written down.
What do you think of Idiot Culture's video about ESPN's racist Jeremy Lin headline? Do you find this video funny, or do you believe it also goes too far? Sound off in our comments section below.