Ole Miss AD blasts paper for depiction of concussed player

Ole Miss Athletic Director Ross Bjork rebuked the Memphis Commercial-Appeal for its depiction of Rebels defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche's concussion with a letter to its editor after Ole Miss' 37-24 upset loss to the Tigers on Saturday. Nkemdiche, a junior, is one of the top talents in college football and will decide after the season whether to apply for early eligibility into the 2016 NFL Draft.

"After careful consideration, I feel compelled to express my disappointment in the way you reported the outcome of the Ole Miss vs. Memphis game, specifically, the way you dramatized a moment that affected a young man's life with a grossly depicted image ("Smash Hit," Oct. 18 article). Using an image of a student-athlete knocked out with a concussion is no way to sell newspapers.

"The discussion around head injuries in sports is widespread, and we strive to be a leader for awareness and safety. In fact, we are hosting the 'Neuroscience and Learning: Healing the Injured Brain' conference in Oxford this week.

"Concussions and head injuries are extremely serious, and it's unfortunate that you would use your platform to sensationalize them."

Here is the front page of the Commercial-Appeal's Sunday sports section, which compelled Bjork's letter:

Nkemdiche's availability for this Saturday's game against Texas A&M is uncertain.

It's not the first time Bjork has gone after a newspaper for the way it has handled an injury to a Rebels player. When Ole Miss star receiver Laquon Treadwell broke his leg and dislocated his ankle against Auburn last year, Bjork admonished the Opelika-Auburn News for publishing a photo of the moment in which Treadwell suffered the injuries.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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