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Duke to use photo of hoops players with guns as teaching moment

Posted October 14, 2013

A still image taken from a video on GoDuke.com shows Duke basketball players using laser guns in a combat simulator at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

— 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.

Duke basketball players with guns Duke downplays dustup over gun photo

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.

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  • fbguru Oct 17, 2013

    Duke's just trying to show PJ that they're ready for him should he be packin' when he comes to Cameron! LOL! LASER GUNS, people. Not a 9mm thrown out of a drug dealer-rented vehicle with REAL ammo in their possession!

  • LUKECAGE Oct 16, 2013

    Not a big deal; but, I can see where folks will do a double-take.

  • mikewrob Oct 16, 2013

    This was done at the West Point Academy, Any exposure of these student athletes to the FINEST Military Academy in the world , which build individual character and shows a responsible attitutde towards firearms is a good thing. Liberal anti gun whiners who chose to blame an individuals actions on an inanimate object are a detriment to this country and its free (for now, until Obama and the demcrats are able to further erode our freedoms) as a whole.

  • morrigan570 Oct 16, 2013

    Wow. Heavily censored for offensive words. T 456 H 756 U 454 G is not a bad word.

  • 903 sing Terry Watson sing Oct 15, 2013

    ^because it was fall break

  • mm23 Oct 15, 2013

    Uhhhh- team building is nice, but why are they not in Durham attending classes?!

  • wufwuf1 Oct 15, 2013

    Sure hope no one catches them playing Call of Duty.

  • 75Tarheel Oct 15, 2013

    This a non-story. The team should have smiled though ;-) While my feelings for Duke basketball are no secret - team building visits to Military installations and Academies are great! I have one son who is a State Trooper, one in the Navy, and a daughter works in the court system with juvenile drug offenders. Perhaps this visit to West Point will guide one of these kids to public service as well. Any parent would and should be extremely proud.

    GO HEELS!!

  • dmccall Oct 15, 2013

    Probably the most valuable lesson from this event is the journalistic reputation that deadspin.com deserves. Time to bury that site along with perezhilton.com and the others that lack integrity.

  • cetingen2 Oct 15, 2013

    Further, the problem with the photo is that only one of these young men is abiding by the basic weapon safety rules. Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to fire. Also the player firing the weapon with his middle finger further illustrates the fact that he knows nothing of about the workings of a firearm. As a former Marine myself, I would expect nothing less than these careless mistakes after being instructed by an army weapons instructor.

    Like I said in my earlier post, Adam Gold is an for thinking this is anything. So is everyone else that thinks this is a big deal. As for wondering how it was financed? Dook is a private institution so honestly it is no ones business who paid for it. Not to mention we all know dook players no better than to talk when asked questions like that

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