Photographer upset that Hall of Fame pulled Hernandez photo


Every year, the Pro Football Hall of Fame asks a panel of photography experts to choose the best NFL photo of the year. The photographer gets an award, and the picture is put on display at the Hall of Fame.

In the case of this award-winning picture of Aaron Hernandez scoring a touchdown in 2010, the photo was displayed for a year after it won the photography award, then put up again this year as part of a new exhibit displaying some of the best pictures in the Hall of Fame’s collection. The Hall of Fame took the picture down, however, when Hernandez was accused of murder and visitors suggested that it wasn’t appropriate.

That was disappointing for Mary Schwalm, who took the picture of Hernandez.

It is disappointing,” Schwalm told the Sporting News. “I was able to say, ‘I have a photo hanging in the Hall of Fame.’ Can I still say that? . . . I’m bummed. I’m disappointed.”

Schwalm is still the winner of the 2010 award, and her picture — which captured the joy of Hernandez as he scored and the disappointment of the fallen Packers defensive back behind him — is still a good one. It’s just not one the Hall of Fame wants to display right now.

95 responses to “Photographer upset that Hall of Fame pulled Hernandez photo

  1. Schwalm still has her award whether Canton displays the photo or not, but it’s not about her in the first place. Offer the pic to the photography Hall of Fame and see if they want to display it. Done.

  2. Selfish. She won her award, and I’m sure they’re not taking away any certificates. Her being able to say ‘I have a picture hanging in the HOF’ isn’t as big a deal as the prospect of Odin Lloyd’s family and friends having to see that same picture of their loved ones’ killer in the Hall.

  3. So I guess OJ’s pictures and awards will be coming down, along with every other player who was “accused” of any objectionable crime. It is now called “The Hall of Fame for those not accused of a crime”.

  4. This is very easy to handle, simply allow this particular lady the opportunity to take another photo, and that one will be posted in the HOF.

    Very simple solution here. It’s a good gesture, and the Hall should see that.

  5. Replace it with the picture of him handcuffed under his shirt. That was a classic!
    As for the photographer, Odin’s mother used to be able to say “I have a son.” Now what has she got? Get some perspective lady!

  6. The photographer is correct. The HOF should have told her in advance the picture was coming down.

  7. I side with the photographer here. She won the contest based on her photography. Why the sudden white-washing of the sport, and why stop here?

  8. Boo hoo, get over it buddy.

    Now you can say that you “used” to have a photograph in the HOF. As a pick up line at the local bar, I question its relative impact.

  9. If I was the photographer I’d be angry.
    If I was a visitor I’d be angry.
    If I was Aaron Hernandez, I’d be angry.
    If I was Odin Lloyd, I’d be dead

  10. “I’m bummed. I’m disappointed,” Schwalm said.


    Also bummed….the family of the guy Hernandez shot in the head and killed.

    Try to keep your troubles in perspective lady.

  11. Earlier commenter stole my thunder. Oj, i believe, is still in the hof. He is also a much better comparison to the guilt of an accused murderer than Zimmerman. Z was facing much less evidence than oj or Hernandez.

  12. Wow, the Aaaron Hernandez situation brings another twist. For the first time we now get to wait for a photographer to backpedal on comments and say she was misquoted or her comments were taken out of text. Let the countdown begin.

  13. No matter what the league does we still remember Hernandez played NFL football. And if we soon forget from all the images being removed and wiped from the record, Dolphins, Jets, and Bills fans will surely keep us reminded.

  14. On the bright side, unlike most people she can now boast that she captured a murderer in his glory… so there’s that.

  15. The Hall of Fame should choose a photo of Schwalm’s from that year to have it displayed in the place of Hernandez’ photo. It makes sense to take down the photo but it doesn’t make sense to punish the photographer when clearly this was a major accomplishment in her career.

  16. I disagree with wryly1 – it is about Schwalm. They had a photography contest and she won. The subject of the photo was not relevant in the contest – it could have been cleats laying in the middle of an empty field.

    I looked at the photo and obviously it is a Patriot #85, but no player name is visible.

    They didn’t remove O.J. when he was accused, and his display IS about him.

    If AH is convicted, then this is still a great photo, and it is also a good lesson on how to blow up the potential of a great player and life.

  17. ssssso,

    this is a story because?? why???

    I love the whole guilty until proven innocent theme the NFL is working here.

    solid case study for the judicial system.

  18. So the main complaint is that she can’t brag to her friends anymore? I’m sure if he’s found not-guilty they’ll hang it back up, and if he’s found guilty she can brag that she photographed a serial killer…

  19. Who cares, the picture was weak anyway. If that was the “best” picture taken at an NFL game that year, every single photographer the NFL pays should immediately be fired

  20. wryly,
    there’s an award for having a pic hanging at hall of fame? it may be considered but I highly doubt there’s an award.

    tell mary she’s just like all the college players on these preseason watch lists. nobody cares but you

  21. The picture was in the Football Hall of Fame not a photographic museum, of course they took it down. You ain’t goin’ to see George Zimmerman’s picture on any NRA posters either!

  22. Solution: Where the picture once hung, mount a plaque as a tribute to the photographer to represent her achievement. Maybe let her pick another photo to replace the one that was removed.

    This is not a crisis.

  23. What’s the point of this? If this was a statue in his honor, I can understand removing it so as not to glorify him. However, I don’t support this attempt by the NFL to scrub all traces of his ever having played the game.

  24. I haven’t seen the joy of a major award ruined like this since the old man’s leg lamp was destroyed.

    Perhaps they can give her the photo back so she can bury it in the backyard.

  25. She sounds selfish, but as a photographer I can sympathize with her. It’s hard enough to get people to acknowledge photography is a real thing — and having a picture in the NFL hall of fame can be the difference between a lot of work/income and not being successful. That said, the photo shouldn’t be there.

  26. Good thing it was never all about the photographer. She was just someone who was geniunely trying to promote the game……

  27. I can see why they removed it. A black man laying on the ground looking like he’s been shot while Hernandez runs away? Too close to real life events.

  28. Is she supposed to be happy? Is it that unreasonable for her to wish that the Hall of Fame had told her about it? People are always in such a big hurry to slam other people.

  29. America is such a funny country. If Hernandez walks and love God, like #52, no doubt they’ll let the picture back. Even the freaking Juice’s stuff is still up there and he decipitated someone.

  30. Like CBX…If they were to crawl outside of Tom Brady’s jockstrap they would find more legitimate pictures.

    Spend more time taking pictures of the Ravens…
    You know..Flacco throwing it further than a Safety ever thought it can be thrown.

    Did you see the Home Run Derby last night? That is what it looks like when the ball travels further than you are accustomed. You badly misplay it. That is what happened in Denver.

  31. The person we should be saying “waaah” to is the Hall of Fame visitor who was offended by having to look at a picture of someone who got arrested for murder.

    I mean, seriously, a picture? What’s next, do we have to destroy all highlight reels from that game that have that play in it? The man was a football player, he played in the game, the play happened, now he’s in jail. The events are unrelated.

    How perfect must that person’s life be that seeing that picture counts as a traumatic event for them?

  32. Yeah, this is one of those things that just sucks for everyone. The HOF probably has no choice but to remove the photo. And I can totally understand the photographer’s disappointment. And then there’s the victim and his family…

    No one wins here.

  33. Crap, I only go to the HOF to see the great photographers names under the pictures.
    She is more famous now than if the picture stayed there for 100 years!
    Nobody cares WHO took the picture! We are football fans.

  34. Get over it lady. The Hall of Fame owes you nothing. Also, Drew Brees wants an explanation.

  35. The NFL is missing one important point.

    No matter how much they try and whitewash Hernandez from NFL records, they cannot change the fact that he was in the NFL, he most like killed someone, and that those facts will always be associated with the league.

  36. The photographer must look at big picture and accept the removal of photo. HOWEVER, HOF should allow them to submit other photos so that a different picture from this photographer would remain on display even with a *.

  37. If it’s that famous one of Hernandez running with a bloody ball while blowing a large blue neon bubble, the police may have needed it for evidence.

  38. ajgreenhof says:
    Jul 16, 2013 7:56 AM
    The situation is bigger then Mary and her photo.
    Yes the situation is bigger. But it didn’t need to affect her livlihood like this. She’s not “whining”, ranting or raving. She’s expressing her feelings on having her picture removed, and without any notice from the place removing it which in my book is not the right way for the HOF to have handled it.

    gobulls68 wins the thread in my book. LOL

  39. What a bunch of hypocrits. The same people here that we’re crying that we’ve become to PC when it comes to changing Washington’s name are now being PC on this issue? Pick a side people.

  40. wte1 says: Jul 16, 2013 7:12 AM

    The photographer is correct. The HOF should have told her in advance the picture was coming down.

    Common sense should have told her and everyone else that anything related to this man would be cleansed from the NFL.

  41. Does anyone happen to have the number to the Whaanimal Control? I think we have a cry baby out loose on the streets! ; )

  42. i get why nfl and HOF are doing what theyre doing..but seriously? i mean if you take down all the pics of humans that messed up in society you’d need to take down ray lewis, LT, stallworth ( he might have his hamstring in there). and a BUNCH of others.

  43. ttoptom says:
    Jul 16, 2013 8:07 AM
    I disagree with wryly1 – it is about Schwalm. They had a photography contest and she won. The subject of the photo was not relevant in the contest – it could have been cleats laying in the middle of an empty field.

    I looked at the photo and obviously it is a Patriot #85, but no player name is visible.

    They didn’t remove O.J. when he was accused, and his display IS about him.

    If AH is convicted, then this is still a great photo, and it is also a good lesson on how to blow up the potential of a great player and life


    This a million times.

    She won an award and was to have a photo permanently displayed in the Hall of Fame. That’s a pretty big honor. It was her award, not Hernandez’s.

    They aren’t taking out LT’s stuff, and he was convicted of hiring underage prostitutes. The NFL Hall of Fame makes a point of saying that only on field accomplishment is to be considered.

    I understand that Hernandez is an embarrassment to the league. I understand that Odin Lloyd is dead. Will taking down this woman’s photo bring him back?

  44. This is so rediculous! She should be pissed! The hall should be ashamed! As well as the NFL, taking down his stats from the site , removing him from the Hall??? The guy has been accused not convicted! Yeah, we have a crackhead, junkie’s word for it though???? That is their biggest piece to this puzzle?? There is other evidence that Hernandez car was involved, but crazier things have happened! We may find out that he indeed was not @ all the shooter! Maybe he is, but until that day, and even after that day, he is a part of football history and especially that photo! Americans can be so soft! Pathetic really

  45. I think it’s lame that people are jumping all over the photographer here instead of the crybabies who pressured the HoF to take the photo down. How does these sensitive ninnies handle watching the news or, god forbid, catch a glance at a picture of Hitler? Miserable bastards are always trying to ruin other people’s good times.

  46. HOF pulled a photo of an ACCUSED murderer. If he had been found guilty, yes, remove the photo. But wait until then. After all, half of Sanford, FL, expected (wanted?) Zimmerman to be found guilty. Why don’t we, just for fun, wait until the jury hears the evidence for and against AH and makes a decision before we pronounce AH a murderer?

    Oh, wait, we just pretend to believe in justice. It’s more about revenge and kicking someone who is currently down. AH may well be guilty, but the courts have not yet declared him to be so. How is it the general public knows already?

  47. As a fellow photographer, I understand her struggle with this. It is incredibly hard to be recognized AT ALL in the field of photography, because any yahoo with a rebel T2I thinks they are a pro. It’s next to impossible to have a photograph displayed permanently in such a prominent place like that. I would be bummed too. The photograph in the hall celebrates the PHOTOGRAPHER, not the player.

  48. For those of you who obviously don’t understand the difference between a photo of OJ and a photo of Hernandez. OJ was actually inducted in to the hall of fame where as Hernandez is not, and never will be. Let me say it again. OJ is a HOF’er and Hernandez is NOT. That’s why it is not hypocritical to remove Hernandez and leave OJ. Although I would be more than okay with them removing OJ as well…

  49. The photographer should just ask for a list from the NFL of players that they do vouch for as fair game to photograph. I just won’t take pictures of any of the players that don’t count for having their pictures taken. So which ones are they? Tell me now so I don’t waste my time in advance.

  50. That photographer was honored for the photograph she took. What did she do wrong? As previous posters have said, it is important that photographers get CREDIT for their pictures. In this case they are punishing the photographer. Is NFL Films going to burn all Patriot footage from the last 3 seasons just because Hernandez is in them if someone complains about them?

  51. ll you people ridiculing this lady and calling her selfish, calm down and try to understand some perspective. I’m a graphic designer and photographer by career and completely understand why she’s disappointed. That’s her work. Some of you are so quick to discount stuff like this just because this field is work isn’t important to you. She probably worked really hard to accomplish something like this. I’d be disappointed too.

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