Newspaper plasters photo of Treadwell injury on front page
In case you spent Saturday night on a Hawaiian beach far from any news source, Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell fumbled the potential game-winning touchdown with 90 seconds left, suffering a massive injury that required immediate surgery in the process.
Auburn recovered after a replay review overturning the initial call, then held on for a huge road win in the SEC East.
The Opelika-Auburn News celebrated the victory on the front page of the sports section with a headline in huge block letters: “FINDING A WAY.” Underneath the headline, however, a giant photo clearly showing Treadwell’s broken leg and dislocated ankle takes up the entire page above the fold.
Here is the cover of the Opelika-Auburn Newspaper. I did a black out job on his lower legs pic.twitter.com/SuV12VgVmK
— TheHoundztooth (@TheHoundztooth) November 2, 2014
The cover drew immediate criticism on Twitter.
Auburn Opelika News is SICK!Whoever approved for that pic of Treadwell to be on the front of that paper with that caption..SHOULD BE FIRED!
— Penelepe (@Bamagirl_4_ever) November 2, 2014
The Opelika-Auburn News pulled a tasteless move with the cover photo today. Putting the Treadwell injury front and center? No words.
— Amie Just (@Amie_Just) November 2, 2014
That Opelika News front-page photo is a pic of the injury, not the fumble. Some editor "found a way" to be tasteless and unprofessional.
— onemantobeat (@onemantobeat) November 2, 2014
An online copy of the photo clearly shows Treadwell’s ankle an instant after the gruesome injury occurred. The photo also illustrates Treadwell’s fumble, which may turn out to be the single biggest play of Auburn’s season. The headline, in combination with the picture, can be construed as “the Tigers did whatever necessary to win a football game, even if it meant breaking the leg of the star player on the other team.”
It’s impossible to know the editor’s intentions, especially without any public comments from him or her, but it’s easy to question them.
Newspaper editors have a difficult job in 2014, balancing diminishing revenue with ethics and increasingly more difficult deadlines given the shrinking man power. We don’t know the thought process behind the decision to put this photo in such a prominent place on the sports page. Was it an oversight? An intentional decision to try to sell Sunday papers?
Either way, it seems clear with the benefit of hindsight that the Opelika-Auburn News made a mistake.
What do you think? Is this a forgivable lapse in judgment or an infuriating lack of ethics?