Oct 16, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris watches from the sidelines in the second half against the Carolina Panthers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a long history of media outlets presenting photos with an incorrect identification of who’s in the image. Sometimes, that’s about wire photo services misidentifying who’s in a photo, and the writers and editors who download and use it not checking it thoroughly enough. There are even stranger cases than that, though.

And one popped up Thursday with The Associated Press wire service’s story on Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris being hired as the new head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. The initial @AP tweet used a photo of Carolina Panthers’ DC Ejiro Evero:

A deleted Associated Press tweet on Raheem Morris with a photo of Ejiro Evero.
A deleted Associated Press tweet on Raheem Morris with a photo of Ejiro Evero. (@AP on Twitter.)

Clicking on that story at that time revealed that this was not a wire photo mislabeling. At that time, that story (from Paul Newberry and Rob Maaddi) came with photos of both Evero and Morris, who had both interviewed for this job. (However, Evero was not mentioned in the copy of the story). But Evero’s photo was first in the accompanying slideshow, and in some cases where a photo is not specified, external links on social media platforms like Twitter/X here will just take the first one.

So the problem appears to have come either from not specifying the Morris photo as the lead image, or, if the AP’s particular online setup doesn’t involve that, including the unnecessary Evero photo in that collection (or placing it first) in the first place.

And getting your own photos (in this case, both were AP file photos) wrong is a bigger problem than not catching a mislabeling from a wire service. And there’s another element that takes this beyond some of the photo mixups we’ve seen. What makes this particularly interesting is how the AP attempted to tweet an apology later, but that still carried the wrong photo. And they then deleted that tweet. Here’s a screengrab of it:

An Associated Press attempt to apologize for a Raheem Morris tweet with the wrong photo, later deleted.
An Associated Press attempt to apologize for a Raheem Morris tweet with the wrong photo, later deleted. (@AP on Twitter.)

There’s something perhaps understandable there too.

The “title cards” that often accompany social media posts on a particular story do not always properly update even after the story has been updated. And it’s possible the AP was not able to find a way to tweet this with the correct photo (which, again, was there at first, but in the No. 2 position rather than the No.1 one that was pulled for social media).

For the record, as of 9:30 p.m. ET, their story had two photos of Morris, one of Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank and CEO Rich McKay, and one of snubbed candidate Bill Belichick. But it is amusing that even their attempted social media correction also got the photo wrong.

Again, photo mixups are far from new. And all outlets make mistakes, often around photos, and that includes this site.

But this one was interesting considering how it came from their own file photos rather than an external wire service, and with the photo captions correctly indicating who was depicted. Some of that is about external social media services and how they pull accompanying photos, but that should be known by media organizations at this point. And there really was no reason to include a photo of Evero with this story despite his interview, with him not even mentioned in the body copy.

So this wasn’t a great look for the AP.

[The Associated Press]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.