ESPN Turns Michael Vick White
Article and illustration raise a fervor
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2011 9:13 AM CDT
This is the photo illustration ESPN ran with its article about Michael Vick and race.   (ESPN the Magazine)

(Newser) ESPN the Magazine sent tongues wagging yesterday with a piece entitled “What if Michael Vick were white?” that was accompanied by a photoshopped image of Vick sporting a decidedly different complexion than usual. Many were outraged—including the article’s author, Touré. “I asked them not to call it What If Vick Were White but they did,” he wrote in a Twitter post spotted by Deadspin. Later he added, “My essay on Vick is nowhere near as inflammatory as the pic of him in whiteface … Judge me on the story not the art.”

Indeed, in the article Touré writes that this hypothetical white Vick is “unknowable,” because he would have grown up in entirely different circumstances. Not long after the post went up, ESPN replaced the White Vick image with an undoctored photo of Vick. Had they bowed to the flood of Internet outrage? Nope. Editor in Chief Chad Millman told the Big Lead that the illustration had only been removed “due to a licensing issue.” An hour later, it was back up. (To be fair, not everyone hated it.)