If you opened the print version of The Washington Post this morning, you got quite a visual in the front of the sports section. In an eerie coincidence, Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith broke his tibia and fibula during the Redskins’ game against the Texans on Sunday, 33 years to the day Joe Theismann had his leg broken in a similar way. To make things more strange, both games ended with the same 23-21 score.
When covering this story, almost everyone immediately grasped the seriousness of Smith’s broken leg and when writing about it, used either a picture that was close up on Smith’s face or a picture of him on the cart with his leg in an air cast, so you couldn’t see his leg after it was immediately broken.
The Washington Post, on the other hand, went with a photo of Smith’s twisted leg and used the strange headline “Broken promise.”
(WARNING: The pic below shows Alex Smith’s broken leg so scroll further down if you don’t want to look.)
What a distasteful photo to use and somehow, it's not the worst thing on the page. What is that headline?
Cover cred: @dcsportsbog pic.twitter.com/jzMas1TYVY
— Ronnie K (@RonnieKRadio) November 19, 2018
The same story is available on The Washington Post’s website. There, The Post used a more thorough headline of “‘Say your prayers and get ready for the next play’: Alex Smith injury shows game’s dark side comes in a blink” and featured a picture positioned at Smith’s head as he’s laying on the ground receiving treatment.
Obviously, a lack of space prevents that headline from being used in the print version, but surely The Post could have done better than “Broken promise.” What promise was broken? If Smith broke a promise, are you saying it’s his fault he got his leg broken? Not only is it an insensitive headline, it just doesn’t make any sense. But unlike the web, it’s a little too late to change something once it goes to print, so that headline and photo is what we got in today’s Post.
[@RonnieKRadio/The Washington Post]