Duke to use photo of hoops players with guns as teaching moment
Posted October 14, 2013
Durham, N.C. — Duke University officials said Monday that an image posted on a sports website over the weekend showing basketball players posing with guns has been taken out of context.
Still, they said, they plan to use the incident to talk to players about public perception.
The team is on a week-long team-building trip to New York, including a day at West Point, coach Mike Krzyzewski's alma mater. While at West Point, the players got time on a combat simulator using laser weapons.
"They were given the opportunity by the Army personnel to take some pictures," Jon Jackson, associate director of athletics, said Monday.
Two of the pictures, showing the players posing with the laser guns, which resemble automatic weapons, quickly made it to Deadspin.com with the headline "What Is This Photo Of The Duke Basketball Team Handling Assault Rifles?"
"If you take the image by itself and it's taken out of context, it could be seen as are we somehow glamorizing gun violence or something like that. Clearly, (that's) not the case," Jackson said.
Sports talk radio hosts Adam Gold and Joe Ovies of 99.9 FM The Fan discussed the pictures on their Monday afternoon show.
Ovies said that, when taken in context, the photo is no big deal.
"They were dummies – they were dummy weapons. You kind of go, 'Alright,'" Ovies said.
Gold said, however, that the team should have used more forethought, and some Duke students agree.
"You're in your Duke uniform, your warm-ups, and everybody's out there holding machine guns. It just looks bad," Gold said.
"I don't think it's a good idea to attach that image to the basketball team," Duke freshman Tim Campbell said.
Jackson said the incident gives the athletic department a chance to discuss the power of social media with players.
"(We'll discuss) the importance of perception and how those images could have been perceived not when taken in context," he said.