Diamondback Cartoon Angers Maryland Football Players

An editorial cartoon published late last month in The Diamondback caused a stir at the University of Maryland for its connection to an accident seriously injuring a football player.

A redshirt freshman on the Maryland football team recently landed in intensive care with two broken legs after crashing his scooter into a car on campus.  A Diamondback cartoon referenced the incident soon after, showing a football player in helmet and pads telling a young woman that he was not wearing the gear for a game but to avoid an injury while riding a scooter.

Critics quickly voiced their displeasure about the illustration’s perceived insensitivities toward the hospitalized student.  As the newspaper’s editor in chief Marissa Lang wrote in a statement to readers: “From the moment I woke up, I was bombarded with messages from readers, alumni, university employees, friends and coworkers expressing shock, disappointment and outrage about the editorial cartoon.”

Members of the Terrapins football program were also angry, including head coach Ralph Friedgen.  As one player told The Baltimore Sun: “It’s a messed up thing to do. Kid gets in an accident, it’s not even his fault. He’s lucky to be alive. And they want to joke about it.”

Lang apologized for “any anger, hurt or resentment that resulted from the illustration’s publication.”  The cartoonist also apologized, explaining that the “cartoon’s message was meant purely as a commentary on campus safety. It was not at all my intention to make light of [the football player’s] injuries, nor to mock him personally in any way.”

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