Thursday, December 4, 2003
Newspaper disturbed by photo alteration
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- A photo in Missouri's basketball media
guide was altered to erase Ricky Clemons, the troubled point guard who was
tossed off the team last summer.
Mizzou made Clemons disappear from the 2003 media guide.
Clemons' image was edited out of a photo of Missouri's home
victory over Colorado on Feb. 1.
The altering of the Columbia Daily Tribune image of the
celebration scene was not unusual, said Chad Moller, the school's
director of athletic media relations.
"We do that with photos quite frequently if there is something
in the photo we don't like," Moller said.
Clemons has served jail time after pleading guilty in a domestic
In the unedited picture by Tribune photographer Ed Pfueller,
Clemons is seen walking behind two other players.
In the manipulated version, Clemons is gone, replaced by a
cut-and-paste repeat of courtside spectators. Clemons' reflection
is still slightly visible on the basketball court.
Moller said basketball team spokesman Sam Fleury, responsible
for design of the media guide, decided to erase Clemons' image.
"I guess I would say it's because he is no longer on the
team," Moller said.
Jim Robertson, managing editor of the Tribune, said the
newspaper has allowed the athletic department to use its photos in
team media guides. But he said the Tribune never approved
manipulation of its pictures.
"I was surprised that they used it like that and I think they
should have known better. We are putting into place procedures to
assure that any use of our photos reflects our standard for the
truth," Robertson said.
But Moller said the school "assumed that since they gave us
permission to use the photo we could do what we wanted with it."
"We certainly didn't mean to offend anyone, but in the future,
if we do use photos from them, we won't change them," Moller said.
Clemons, a junior-college transfer, pleaded guilty in April to
Clemons' former girlfriend, Jessica Bunge, said the player
choked her in a headlock and refused to let her leave his Columbia
apartment for more than an hour.
He was kicked off the team in July after a judge determined
Clemons violated conditions for serving his sentence in a halfway
house and ordered him to jail. This fall, he re-enrolled at
Missouri but isn't playing basketball.