Sac State Hornet newspaper issues apology for editorial cartoon

12:19 AM, Oct 2, 2010   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - An editorial cartoon with what some were calling a violent message was striking a nerve with some students at Sac State University Friday.

The cartoon called "Why Baseball is the Best Sport Ever" was printed in the State Hornet newspaper.

"I think it's offensive to gays," said student Jamie Bradley of one of the pictures.

Another student asked, "Why do they have to involve handcuffed women, beating people? I believe it's too graphic."

"I don't even see it as being funny," said student Elizabeth Vasquez.

Some readers took offense to a third image, a man beating a woman with a baseball bat. Student Scott Hawkins was allegedly beaten to death by his suitemate last year with a baseball bat.

The student newspaper posted an apology on The State Hornet website, acknowledging that the cartoon was offensive and inappropriate.

"It was offensive for the sake of being offensive. We regret that. If we could change it, we'd take it back. We want to apologize to people for that," Leidhra Johnson, the Editor-in-Chief of State Hornet said.

Johnson said there wasn't enough review of the editorial cartoon before it was printed. She also said those who did see it didn't want to deny the cartoonist's freedom of expression.

Johnson said those who ultimately made the decision did not recognize the cartoon's reference to the tragic homicide of Scott Hawkins.

"We should have caught it. We are the safety net. We were responsible for that. But it slipped through. We regret that and we will pay more attention from now on and make sure this doesn't happen again," said Johnson.

Johnson said the newspaper's editorial board is developing a better policy for vetting future editorial cartoons.

Student Demetri Papamichlis said he was not offended by the editorial comment.

"No, (it wasn't offensive) for me. For other people, yes. I think it's kind of immature for university standards," said Papamichlis.

"For us, I think if there's a clear message that we really need to express, then we take it to the next level. and we are willing to provoke. If it's just sheer sake of offending. it's not worth it. and in the end, that's the question. Is it worth it," said Johnson.

By Suzanne Phan,

Twitter: @suzannephan


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