|AP Photo/Jeff Roberson|
Have you ever seen a photo of a fallen college athlete as tastelessly intrusive as this one? When Jesse Morgan, a shooting guard and team leader with the UMass Amherst Minutemen, went down near the sideline in a January 13 game against Fordham, an AP photographer captured the moment. Two days later, after the team fessed up that Morgan’s season was over with a torn ACL, the Northampton, Massachusetts-based Daily Hampshire Gazette ran the macabre photo. “It’s Isenheim worthy,” commented a friend, alluding to the expressionist crucifixion in Grunewald's iconic Isenheim Altarpiece.
|Agony at Isenheim|
Friends who have followed college basketball for 50+ years say that they’ve never seen anything quite like the photo of Morgan with its max headroom intrusiveness. We give many of our high-profile college athletes generous scholarship support and celebrity status. In return, we ask much from them, including stressful time commitments and personal risk. Have the Jesse Morgans of the world embraced a faustian social contract that allows for graphic media depiction as practiced by the Gazette? I suspect that the newspaper would have refrained from running a similar photo of Morgan had he fallen on the ice outside the arena. But inside the building, a 21-year-old’s lack of privacy apparently knows no bounds.