Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Photographer clicked-off that Hall of Fame removed Hernandez photo

An award-winning photograph of Aaron Hernandez — high-stepping into the end zone during a 2010 game against the Green Bay Packers — was removed from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the fallout from the sordid murder charges against the New England Patriots tight end.

And the photographer who took the picture isn't too happy about it.

It is disappointing,” Mary 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?”

Every year, the HOF 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 permanent display at the Hall of Fame.

But the award-winning picture of Hernandez scoring a touchdown in 2010 wasn’t displayed permanently after all. The Hall of Fame took the picture down when visitors complained about seeing a picture of an accused murderer.

According to Cleveland.com, the HOF used the public's perception of Hernandez to justify censoring the photo.

“In the spirit of good taste we thought we’d take it down,” said Joe Horrigan, the HOF's vice president of communication and exhibits.

The decision marks the latest move by the league and Patriots to distance themselves from Hernandez, who’s been released by the team and remains in custody without bail.

Schwalm — of the Eagle-Tribune of North Andover, Mass. —  also said she was disappointed the Hall of Fame didn’t tell her it had pulled her photo. She found out on Twitter.

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

It's understandable that the NFL wants to distance itself from the disgraced player but can it separate itself from history of the game by leaving a blank space on the wall?

That was Ms. Schwalm's snapshot capturing a moment in a game — not a glorification or visual image of the player's off-the-field character. 

The Hall should never have taken it down.

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