Toure', the author of a new article about Eagles quarterback Michael Vick in ESPN The Magazine, says he was “dismayed and horrified” when he discovered that the publication had photo-shopped the football star into a white man. Appearing on CNN (video below), he stated, “I didn’t imagine that they would do that and it contradicts what I’m doing in the story. This whole concept doesn’t really make any sense. Race informs your entire life. So, you wouldn’t even enter the same moment the same way. If Michael Vick were white, if that were even imaginable, he may not even go to the NFL because he might see other options for his life.”
“So, just the concept of re-imagining somebody is white or black is extraordinary difficult, and I dismiss the concept of that right away in the story. For the headline and the image to suggest, ‘Let’s look at him as white’ is extremely, it’s just a perpendicular relationship to the story that I wrote," added Toure'.
However, ESPN The Magazine senior editor Raina Kelly defended the decision, “Well, the first reason we did it is because, I mean, I’m sure, as you know, the purpose of the art in a magazine, on television, in the newspaper, is to accompany and make the reader think in a way similar to the story. What we wanted to do is discuss Michael Vick as fully as possible and discuss the dog-fighting issue as fully as possible.”
Kelly added, “You can use all kinds of code words so that nobody really knows what you’re saying, or you can just put the issue out there and let people talk about it. That’s what we did and that’s what we have done.”
ESPN removed the photo from their website Thursday, but by Friday morning it reappeared again.