Is there anything wrong with this Pro Football Weekly cover?

I’m looking forward to seeing this cover [update: now posted, as you see], although what writer Mike Freeman describes below sounds to me like something we would have done at Milwaukee Magazine back when I worked there.

Freeman tells me in two Twitter direct messages:

I’m looking at cover now. Pic of Luck and RGIII with headline “It’s Not As Simple as Black and White.”…

The words black and white are literally in black and white. Disgracefully racial. Unneeded.

I’ve asked Pro Football Weekly’s executive editor if he cares to comment. I’ll post any response, of course.

UPDATE: Ed (@thegrizzed) Johnson sent me the cover image and says that “I don’t read it as racial at all.” Yes, it looks like what many magazine art directors would do with the concept.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here is Pro Football Weekly’s response.


I assume Mr. Freeman hasn’t had an opportunity to read the cover-story package yet. I believe that if he does he will agree the use of the headline was fitting and appropriate. One of the stories in that package compares quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, who are expected to be the top two picks in the draft, and notes that the question of which one is the better prospect is not as clear-cut as it seemed earlier this season, when Luck was the consensus No. 1. A companion piece reports that African-Americans are still under-represented at the quarterback position relative to other positions in the NFL, and explores whether race is a still a factor in the development and evaluation of quarterbacks. We gave careful consideration to the choice of words on the cover and I believe that the headline – almost as common an expression as you’ll find in the English vernacular – is a fitting description of the content it supports.

As an aside, last year we refused to drink the Kool – Aid in our scouting report on Cam Newton and were accused of racial bias by Hall Of Fame Quarterback, Warren Moon. While Moon’s response was as absurd as Freeman’s, we felt the fact that Moon believed racial bias still existed at the QB position warranted a well – researched piece on the subject, and that any dialogue it generated could only help to shine a spotlight on the issue and help to ensure that bias will eventually be eradicated if it hasn’t been already. My hope is that with a chance to revisit his initial reaction Mr. Freeman will understand that what this all is quite simply is journalism.

I appreciate you reaching out for our position and hope you’ll feel free to contact me at any time.

Best – Hub
Hub Arkush
Pro Football Weekly



  1. Jim said:

    Thanks for the tip, Jeff. I’ve posted the larger image.

  2. Mark said:

    Please, cease with the nonsense.

    There’s nothing even remotely racist about using the phrase.. “Black and white” is a commonly used phrase that has no racial overtones.

    Using “chink” in a headline about a Chinese dude? Yes, racist.

    Using “chink in the armor” regarding someone or something else, not Chinese, not racist.

    As an added bonus, I listened one time as someone said that using the phrase “in the black” (meaning free of debt or “no longer in the red”) is racist even though it has a positive connotation.

  3. victor said:

    I can see how it could be taken as racist but then I see the point of the story behind it. Things can look one way on paper but not as clear in life. African Americans are not represented as they should be in the QB post. Since the teams decide who to draft and use they would be the best to ask why this is.