ESPN Apologizes for Using ‘Dixie’ in Playoff Graphic

“That song was used as a Confederate marching song during the Civil War, and has been used in recent years by some white supremacist groups in the same way.”

One of sports Twitter’s more popular memes and parody accounts is Captain Andrew Luck. The account plays on the fact that Luck bears a striking resemblance to photos of soldiers from the Civil War, and often composes “letters home” to his dear mother about what is happening “on the battlefield.”

ESPN decided to lean into the meme with a graphic during the Colts’ playoff win in Houston. The graphic showed “Captain Andrew Luck” dressed in the blue uniform Union troops wore during the civil war and was meant to show just how effective the Colts’ offensive line has been this season.

The network ran into some pushback for showing some of those linemen dressed in gray Confederate uniforms. Even more problematic was the use of the song “Dixie” as a bed for the graphic. That song was used as a Confederate marching song during the Civil War, and has been used in recent years by some white supremacist groups in the same way.

There is a lot wrong with the graphic obviously. It’s hard to imagine Confederate and Union forces working together to protect anyone. It also ignores the fact that the Colts wear blue and are in a state that fought for the Union, while their opponents were from Texas, which was on the side of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News asked ESPN why the song was used and he was told the version that was approved did not include the song.

“Dixie” was not part of the graphic when the piece was initially produced and approved, a source told SN. Instead, the song was dropped into the piece at the last moment by a staffer in the production truck. A source said ESPN addressed the issue with the staffer, but would not elaborate on the outcome.
“It was a mistake to use this song. We regret having done so and we apologize,” said ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz in a statement to SN.

Michael McCarthy, The Sporting News