chink in the armor

a chink in one's/the armor
(a vulnerable area) — слабое, уязвимое место

Putting things off to the last minute is the chink in Pat's armor and is bound to get her in trouble one day. (The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer)

An ESPN TV anchor used “Chink in His Armor” when talking about Jeremy Lin Earlier This Week /Update: Max Bretos Suspended/ (


chink in the sense of "a crack or gap"

A chink in Jeremy Lin's armor
by Franklin Delano Bluth » Thu Aug 16, 2012

Many of all y'all may remember several months ago that a couple of ESPN employees were fired after the ESPN website ran a story by them whose headline mentioned a chink in Jeremy Lin's armor. The phrase is itself a common one, referring to a weakness which has been discovered and exploited--in this case, in Lin's basketball game. The problem in this case, however, came about because Lin is Chinese-American (ok, Taiwan), which makes an alternate meaning of the word "chink" relevant.

While I've no doubt that the ESPN employees meant it totally innocently, I get that for something that ran in print, unless they can honestly claim that they had never heard "chink" used as a slur against individuals of Asian origins they should have caught it before it went public.

My question is, would such a slip-up be more excusable if it were made on a live TV broadcast rather than in a print medium? After all, the phrase itself is not uncommon; it occurred to these ESPN employees, and I can see it also occurring to a TV play-by-play or color commentator--who, unlike the print writers, has to say something right there and then and doesn't have the benefit of half an hour or so to think about exactly what he or she is saying before it goes public.

Perhaps a comparison might be made to Howard Cosell's "Little monkey" remark, but I think the difference is that I am aware of no situation where "little monkey" is used to refer to someone (except perhaps as a term of endearment for a small child by an adoring parent or grandparent) where it is not used as a racial slur, whereas "chink in the armor" is a phrase with a history that long predates the use of the word "chink" as a slur against Asians or people of Asian origin, and still is not uncommon in general use with no derogatory meaning implied.

Oh wow. Now one should alter the English dictionary lest Taiwanese basketball players feel insulted... Really, have people got nothing better to do than playing victim?

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