ESPN the Magazine has been relentlessly criticized this week for publishing an article headlined, “What if Michael Vick were white?” and especially for publishing an image with the article of how the magazine pictures a white Vick would look.
Some of the harshest criticism of that imagery has come from the author of the article, who goes by the single name Toure, and who had nothing to do with the choice of art to accompany his writing. Toure has made numerous media appearances to distance himself from the picture of the “white Vick” and said he was “dismayed” and “horrified” by the image.
ESPN is usually deft at ignoring its critics, but the criticism over “white Vick” was apparently too much to dismiss, as ESPN the Magazine Editor In Chief Chad Millman has released a statement attempting to explain what he was thinking when he decided to publish this particular image.
“We had several conversations about how to support the essay with imagery that made people think as much as the words did,” Millman writes. “Ultimately, the resulting treatment felt like the strongest way to answer the question so many have been asking.”
If a weird photo illustration of a “white Vick” was the “strongest way” to add an image to the essay, then maybe ESPN should have scrapped the whole thing. I’m betting that’s what Millman wishes he had done.