Earlier today, Australia defeated China 3-0 in a friendly women’s football game in Melbourne. The Guardian covered the event live on their website — all was well until they published their final update.
A part of the text, written by Mike Hynter, sports editor of Guardian Australia, reads, “a few chinks at the back aside, they gave no indication that China could get into the game, despite the visitors’ clear talent in their ranks.”
The term “chinks” is known as a racist term used against Asian people, particularly those of Chinese descent and is considered extremely offensive.
While the use of the term in this context may not be derogatory, it seems like a poor choice of words from such a prominent publication. Some people on social media took to Twitter to slam the publication.
Mike Hynter has since apologized on Twitter for his poor choice of words:
Guy Aoki, the founding president of MANAA, told NextShark:
“I’ve read his explanation, that Mike Hytner meant to say ‘weaknesses’ when he said ‘chinks.’ But how can the sports editor at the Guardian Australia say a racial slur against Chinese people in the same sentence while talking about the Chinese women’s football team? In 2012, an ESPN employee was fired for writing the ‘Chink in the armor’ headline for an article about a basketball game involving Jeremy Lin that featured his picture prominently displayed below it.”
Such events like this is reminiscent of back in 2012, when ESPN editor Anthony Federico, used the phrase “Chink in the Armor” in a headline about Jeremy Lin during his “Linsanity” run. Although he apologized and stressed that it was an “honest mistake,’ he was fired.
SB Nation Sports Editor Brian Floyd perfectly summed up the controversy back then which is fitting for this story: “The headline was unintentional — it had to be unintentional. Someone is going to get buried for this, making it a hard lesson to learn. But dang, don’t plaster the word ‘chink’ underneath Lin’s name on a huge national website without understanding exactly what the backlash will be. It’s not edgy or funny; it’s a ridiculously terrible mistake.”