Fired ESPN Employee Responds to Jeremy Lin Controversy
"This had nothing to do with me being cute or punny," says Anthony Federico, calling his racial slur an "honest mistake."
The ESPN editor axed over an offensive headline in reference to New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin insists he meant no harm.
"This had nothing to do with me being cute or punny," Anthony Federico said in an interview with the New York Daily News.
"I'm so sorry that I offended people," he added. "I'm so sorry if I offended Jeremy."
Federico's headline -- "Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin's 9 Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-stopping Loss to Hornets" -- was posted on ESPN's mobile site at 2:30 a.m. on Saturday and taken down about half an hour later.
ESPN fired the 28-year-old editor on Sunday and issued an apology, noting it was aware of a pair of other "offensive and inappropriate" comments on the sports network's various outlets. In addition, the channel suspended ESPNEWS anchor Max Bretos for 30 days following his on-air use of the slur.
Lin, a Taiwanese-American, guided the Knicks to seven victories in a row before losing to the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night.
"ESPN did what they had to do," Frederico told the Daily News, saying that he used the language "at least 100 times" in past headlines and didn't blink before adding it to the Lin story.
Federico dubbed the NBA sensation a personal hero with whom he feels a bond as another "outspoken Christian."
"My faith is my life," he said. "I'd love to tell Jeremy what happened and explain that this was an honest mistake."
Federico, who worked at ESPN since starting as an intern there six years ago, continued: "I had a career that I was proud of. I'm devastated that I caused a firestorm."