TBS baseball color commentator Ron Darling used the phrase “chink in the armor” during the performance of New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka during Game 2 the American League Division Series — and an apology soon followed, Yahoo Sports reported.
“A little chink in the armor for Tanaka here,” Darling said near the end of the fourth inning, according to outlet. “It’s the first inning where he’s lost a little of his control.”
— NY Daily News Sports (@NYDNSports) October 7, 2018
Tanaka — who is Japanese — had fallen behind 3-0 against Eduardo Nunez of the Boston Red Sox, Yahoo Sports reported. The Yankees went on to win the game 6-2.
Then the mea culpa
Following the game, Darling — a Yale graduate — issued an apology, the New York Daily News said: “Earlier tonight I used an expression while referencing Masahiro Tanaka’s recent pitching performance. While unintentional, I apologize for my choice of words.”
An interesting twist
Darling is partially of Chinese descent, Yahoo Sports said, noting his mother is Hawaiian-Chinese. The Daily News said Darling’s mother is Chinese.
According to the Northwest Asian Weekly, while “chink originally referred to those of Chinese descent, it has expanded to include others from East Asia,” which includes Japan.
Social media outrage (and not)
Many Twitter users didn’t miss Darling’s comment, with some responding in outrage while others weren’t quite as moved, calling it a slip of the tongue, Yahoo Sports said. The outlet added that multiple users compared it to a deleted ESPN headline using the same phrase to describe NBA player Jeremy Lin.
More from Yahoo Sports:
That headline sparked widespread outrage as it appeared to use a slur to mock the struggles of one of the NBA’s few Asian players. It eventually led to the ESPN writer’s dismissal, as well as a suspension for an ESPN anchor who used the phrase on television.
Philadelphia 76ers guard J.J. Redick also landed in hot water when he appeared to use the same slur, later apologizing for what he called a slip of the tongue.
“Darling, similarly, likely wasn’t thinking when he used the slur on the playoff broadcast, but the phrase is one that really needs to be retired from people’s vocabulary,” the Daily News concluded.