What do Don King and The New York Times crossword puzzle have in common?
They have both recently used insulting words to describe immigrants.
I shouldn't expect more of a lightening rod like King.
We've already seen two sports journalists punished for using a racial slur to describe Asian-American basketball star Jeremy Lin. ESPN issued an apology, fired one employee and suspended a second for their use of the slur in reference to the New York Knicks player.
Racial slurs should not be acceptable in sports journalism or used by sports figures like King.
It's also not acceptable for a publication like The New York Times to use the word "illegal" as an answer in its crossword puzzle, as reported by Univision News.
The clue, No. 54 Across, read: “One caught by border patrol.” The answer: ILLEGAL.
Now for many Latinos and others it is offensive to use illegal as a noun.
Even the Associated Press stylebook, the Bible of style for journalists, says not to use illegal or illegals to describe a worker.
But AP does say it is OK to use "illegal immigrant" but not to use "illegal alien."
I and many others find it offensive to describe human beings as "illegals" or as "illegal immigrants." It diminishes their human rights and devalues them as human beings.
The New York Times should know better than to include such an offensive term in its crossword puzzle.
The word "illegals" also was used in December by The New York Times' Bill Keller and it stirred controversy then.
The New York Times crossword editor, Will Shortz, told Univision's Juan Gastelum that he wasn't aware it was an offensive term.
I guess Shortz doesn't read his own newspaper that carefully.
These are times of growing diversity and demographic change in this country. We shouldn't diminish that with name calling. Journalists also should know the weight their words carry.