Anthony Federico, the 28-year-old news editor who posted a controversial headline regarding Jeremy Lin on ESPN’s mobile site this past weekend, has taken a lot punishment over the last few days.
On top of the fact that his ill-advised “Chink in the Armor” heading to a story about the Knicks’ superstar point guard ultimately cost him his job, Federico has also had to sit back and watch his name get dragged through the mud by critics who suggested that he may be a racist.
On Wednesday, Federico took to Twitter to defend himself:
I wrote the headline in reference to the tone of the column and not to Jeremy Lin’s race. It was a lapse in judgment and not a racist pun. It was an awful editorial omission and it cost me my job.
I owe an apology to Jeremy Lin and all people offended. I am truly sorry.
Actions speak louder than words. My words may have hurt people in that moment but my actions have always helped people. If those who vilify me would take a deeper look at my life they would see that I am the exact opposite of how some are portraying me.
They would see that on the day of the incident I got a call from a friend – who happens to be homeless – and rushed to his aid. He was collapsed on the side of the road due to exposure and hunger. They would see how I picked him up and got him a hotel room and fed him. They would see I used my vacation time last year to volunteer in the orphanages of Haiti. They would see how I ‘adopted’ an elderly Alzheimer’s patient and visited him every week for a year. They would see that every winter I organize a coat drive for those less fortunate in New Haven. They would see how I raised $10,000 for a friend in need when his kids were born four months premature. They would see how I have worked in soup kitchens and convalescent homes since I was a kid. They would see my actions speak louder than my words. They would see that these acts were not done for my glory, but for God’s. They would see that each day I live and will continue to live a life of joy and service.
It never has been or will be my intention to hurt anyone.
I wrote thousands and thousands and thousands of headlines in my five years at ESPN. There never was a problem with any of them and I was consistently praised as an employee – both personally and professionally. Two weeks prior to the incident I had my first column published on espnW.com. My career was taking off. Why would I throw that all away with a racist pun? This was an honest mistake.
It is also crucial that people know that the writer of the column had nothing to do with the headline. I wrote it and now I take responsibility for it.
I am actually a Knicks fan and an ardent supporter of Jeremy Lin. Not surprisingly, he has handled the entire situation with grace and class.
Now I have to find a new job and move on with my life.
My solace in this is that ‘all things work together for good for those who love the Lord.’ I praise God equally in the good times and the bad times.
While the suggestion that he deserved to get fired is no less valid today than it was when this story broke, calling Federico a racist at this point seems overly-presumptuous. Initially there may have been doubt regarding what his intentions were when he posted that headline, but now that he’s clearly stated that his mistake was accidental, that should be good enough.