Newspaper challenged over "deceptive" photo of high school player taunting crowd


P.S. I know he might have done something fingery, there, but an ambiguous 200 millisecond gesture noticed by no-one except professional photographers looking directly at it through 300mm lenses is hardly 'turned to the Whitney Young fans and raised his middle fingers at them.'

The article is what in smalltown journalism is called “writing for the editor” – trying hard to hype the journalistic importance of something trivial under the belief that you’re the only person with a record of it. (As opposed to writing for the reader, whose interest and scrutiny is irrelevant or even dangerous to your story.)


In the RSS feed there was a statement from the newspaper photographer that was printed using smaller and smaller type as the statement went on. I clicked through to be able to easier read it, and it wasn’t in the story on the page.

What did it say, and why was it removed?


This may be “writing to the editor” but it’s also “writing to reaffirm stereotypes.”

Black athletes are not allowed to be passionate. They are always angry.

Also, who wouldn’t trust this smile?


It was a quote from the photographer. It was in the Poynter story too, though, and so bland and evasive I took it out to keep the post trim.

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Here’s a link to a sequence of images:

Jalen Brunsen - Multiple Image Sequence

After looking at the pics, it appears he was deliberately trying to flip them the bird, as part of a quick move of his hands. He was probably caught up in the moment and acted like a teenager. Not a big deal.


That’s the thing, though. That sequence (and the video) reveal that the middle finger was left up for two frames shot at 10 fps while he closed his hands. At worst, it was an immediately-squelched gesture of frustration directed at nothing in particular as his arms came down after the shot. But it could just as well be a silly morale-pumping gesture – or nothing at all.

The story, though, made out that he raised his arms to opposing fans and threw it at them in a vulgar way, and they carefully selected the one frame, tabloid cover-style, that supported it.


I don’t think you can call it deliberate. Some people press elevator buttons with their middle fingers, but I don’t assume they are trying to offend.

I’m fairly certain that when I rapidly close my fingers my index finger stays out longer than the others (though it’s a little hard to tell, I think I’d need high speed photography to confirm) and it is totally believable to me that some people would have their middle finger be the last one to close in.

Imagine if you intentionally flipped off hundreds of people but tried to do it so quickly that none would notice. Other than stage magicians I doubt people could really pull this off. Given the duration of the motion the only way he could have been doing it intentionally is if he has spent a long time practicing giving subliminal fingers.


I have some acquaintance with the Journal Star, and I’m not sure that I’d accuse them of journalism (with the possible exception of one of their columnists, who hits more than he misses). They’re mostly cheerleaders for the local big businesses, and the weakness of their reporting on local congressman Aaron Schock is often comical.


Just imagine how good the stringers they send to high school basketball games are!


Now I’ve seen it, I’m not sure I trust anyone any more…


He should be flipping-off his own teammates. He scored 56 points by himself and they still lost the game. The rest of the team combined only scored 12 points.


I watched the game and anybody who can score over 50 points against a team with one 6-11 guy and another 6-9 like he did ought to be able to moon the crowd if he wants.


Gestural leakage? He may have been subconsciously expressing his frustration with a gestural emblem, but rapidly squelched the action. Not cool to call him on it as it wasn’t maintained.

Yeah, that’s how I saw it. His birds were still out when he had his hands at his thighs. So that tells me he WANTED to flip them the birds up in the air, but he sorta-kinda did it, hid it and then wilted and walked off.

Personally, I think people should feel free to flip the birds when they are fucking frustrated at crowds, other teams, police officers, grandmothers and whomever happens to be pissing you off at that particular moment, and it shouldn’t be taken as an actionable offense. EVERYBODY’S lookin’ for a takedown these days. Leave the frustrated basketball player alone. Let him blow off some steam.

Remember John MacEnroe raising living hell on the tennis court whenever he got half a chance? I miss those days.


That dude has game. 56 of 68 points?? He should of ‘mooned’ the MOTHERFUCKERS with that tally!!!

Then said Ooops

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Oh those f#$k!n’ elevator buttons know what I’m doing. Smug little f#$k!n’ buttons always judging me for not taking the stairs!


March on to victory,
Patriots brave and bold,
We’ll raise our fingers high to see,
Colors green and gold (rah rah rah!)

Referring to it as “Lincolnshire Stevenson” is like calling it “College Station Texas A&M” or “Boston Harvard”

Its the smug glow buttons get when pressed that shows it('s) (stair)well(s).

Nope, black athletes aren’t allowed to even PRETEND to do that, remember?

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