Monday, June 25, 2007

ESPN Thug Love

Adam "Pacman" Jones is a thug transcended. Apparently, no longer a football player, a gifted athlete or an ordinary young man. Just a thug. Easily identified by his mug shot.

That must have been why the producers of SportsCenter thought it was appropriate to use Pacman's photo from his recent booking in Las Vegas as his official chyron photo.

Here is Pacman's booking photo.

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The following screen grab shows that ESPN immediately "updated" Jones' official photo.

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Here is his official Tennessee Titans team photo for additional reference.

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It is beyond reprehensible for ESPN to use Jones' booking photo to identify him generally. Using the booking photo coupled with the Tennessee Titans logo, as if it was Jones' "official" photo, visually insinuates and reinforces that Pacman is a criminal, when in fact his "record" has no convictions. Even the urgency to show Pacman's new hairstyle should not take precedent over ESPN's imperative to deliver responsibly produced news and images to its viewers. ESPN could've easily digitally manipulated a more appropriate photo (like they regularly do to jerseys, helmets and hats when players change teams) if the network wanted to show Jones' current hairstyle.

Impartiality aside, ESPN has nothing but incentive to promote the image of the notorious Pacman Jones. Adam Jones is hardly that interesting as a personality. He doesn't talk much and he is not generally captivating. Still, ESPN does not hesitate to make sure their viewers get to see Jones entering a Las Vegas police station via some extremely uninteresting and poorly shot video of what could be any guy walking into a building. Adam Jones clearly has more encounters with the law than the average guy, but it's hardly as if ESPN is on the trail of a serial killer. There is no reasonable purpose for ESPN's excessive coverage of Adam Jones. He is just the thug of the moment and ESPN is happy to traffic in destructive imagery as it suits them.

But it's not surprising that ESPN is drunk with power. They have made Jones a star. He used to be just another talented and up and coming NFLer. Adam was known before, but Pacman is a household name. ESPN seemingly has no qualms about perpetuating Jones' thug image. No matter whether its coverage generally disservices its viewership or shows a lack of sensitivity toward Jones' safety and livelihood by glamorizing him as a potential target. No qualms at all. 'Pac always claimed there was love for a thug. Pacman is not feeling it.

15 comments:

jebworks said...

Totally agree with your comment on Jones.
He's certainly no saint but the excessive coverage of his multiple transgressions - always with the same old video footage - is getting tiresome to say the least.

If for one guy your blog title applies totally, it's Jones.

BTW - Love your posts and your take on the sports media. Keep it going.

The Beautiful Game said...

good stuff, i completely agree with it all

a good catch too, i never would have noticed

Adrian said...

1) Not to defend ESPNs actions, but they did the same thing with Kenny Rogers. they showed him getting booked and finger-printed.

2) had you not said that was his booking photo, i would have never known.

Hank Worrell said...

Oh give it a break. They would have looked dumb talking about his haircut and then showing an outdated photo. The booking photo was the only full on head shot they had showing the new look. Talk about making a fuss out of nothing. Yeesh.

Premierophile said...

If there ever was an example of a mountain being made of a molehill, this is it. ESPN using a photo that 99.9% of it's viewers wouldn't recognize as a mug shot over Adam's normal photograph is about 1 billionth on the list of reasons people believe Jones is a man of poor character or a "thug". He only has himself to blame for that, and I would suggest that being arrested 16+ times takes Adam out of the realm of "ordinary young man." As to why the ESPN producers felt it was appropriate to use a mug shot and pictures of Pacman being taken to prison? Probably because every media outlet in the world does the same thing when it covers famous people who've been arrested (Martha Stewart, Kenny Rogers, Joey Barton, the kid from Home Alone, etc, etc).

McLea said...

Wow, must be a slow news day.

jonfrum2000 said...

Beyond represensible? Hmmmm.... I'd like to know what exactly you think is plain old reprehensible. The Pac-ster isn't a thug, he's just a punk with money.

David said...

This is one of the dumber arguments I have seen lately.
By your reasoning, no media outlet should ever show someone being arrested (they haven't been convicted! They should show a picture of them frolicking with flowers!).
The fact is, Adam Jones is in the news recently because he has been arrested. Thus, it is perfectly reasonable to use his booking photo. The fact that there is a Titans logo next to his photo does not mean that ESPN is masquerading the photo as official, it is identifying him as a member of the Tennessee Titans, which he currently is.
I recognize that ripping on ESPN is a cheap and easy way to get people to read your stuff, but you seem talented enough as a writer to find legitimate criticisms to write about, instead of searching deep for something so flimsy.

Vince A. said...

Personally, I think it would have been reprehensible for the WWL to manipulate his NFL photo in order to update his hair style as you suggest.

Paul said...

OK. So the NFL using the clean hair cut version makes him seem more like a thug to the public than the dredi-locks look he has going. Great premise there chief.

Also, Even if he hasn't been convicted I think taking a page out of Fat Joe's book and walking into a club with a GARBAGE BAG full of singles to throw at "performers" puts him in the thug hall of fame regardless of whether he ever gets convicted.

All I am trying to say is it is PAC-MAN who made himself a thug. This is not a media-spun creation by any stretch of the imagination

Brad said...

Let me preface this...I am a former employee of ESPN in Studio Production. I very often disagreed with decision the producers/executives made.

That being said, I see nothing wrong with ESPN using the mug shot. You can make the argument that the amount of coverage might be excessive (that's ultimately personal opinion, but ESPN covers the NFL more than any other sport, and this is an NFL player). But it's still a valid news story. OJ ended up not being convicted, so should ESPN not have covered his murder trial? Should they have run his official Buffalo Bills headshot when reporting on him being on trial for murder?

Plus, Pac-Man looks a lot more clean cut with his head shaved. He has put himself in bad situations repeatedly, and frankly has brought all this attention on himself. Maybe he should also stop being apologetic after every encounter with the law and stop making himself look like a hypocrite.

Chuck said...

Have to agree with Paul; it is absurd to suggest that the cleaned-up, short-haired photo makes Jones look more like a thug than does the dreadlocked photo.

The HCIC said...

I am bored with all the Jones coverage. But I don't have a problem with ESPN using the mug shot to report on Jones' booking. I do have a problem with them using it as his standard identifying photo. It's like putting his mug shot on his driver's license or something.

And for those suggesting he looks less like a thug without dreadlocks, profile much?

Anonymous said...

Pacman is an thug, not an NFL player. I have no issue with the picture ESPN uses. Pacman is blowing a dream career because he is too stupid to take advantage of his second chance. ESPN would stop covering him if he would stop acting like a classless idiot.

Anonymous said...

What a waste of 1 minute and a half.