Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork wrote a letter to the editor to the Memphis Commercial Appeal for their sports cover following Memphis' upset win against the Rebels this weekend.
The cover featured the headline, "SMASH HIT," with a photo of Tigers' players celebrating over Ole Miss defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, who was knocked out with a concussion.
Here's the cover.
Here's Bjork's letter.
After careful consideration, I feel compelled to express my disappointment in the way you reported the outcome of the Ole Miss vs. Memphis game, specifically, the way you dramatized a moment that affected a young man’s life with a grossly depicted image (“Smash Hit,” Oct. 18 article). Using an image of a student-athlete knocked out with a concussion is no way to sell newspapers. The discussion around head injuries in sports is widespread, and we strive to be a leader for awareness and safety. In fact, we are hosting the “Neuroscience and Learning: Healing the Injured Brain” conference in Oxford this week. Concussions and head injuries are extremely serious, and it’s unfortunate that you would use your platform to sensationalize them.
This is not the first time the Ole Miss athletic director has gotten upset with a newspaper for their photo choice. He expressed serious disappointment with the Opelika-Auburn News last November after they used a photo of an injured Laquon Treadwell on their cover.