Confederacy Controversy: ESPN apologizes for using ‘Dixie’ in Andrew Luck graphic during Colts-Texans playoff game

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tags: Confederacy, Dixie

ESPN issued an apology Sunday after it used “Dixie” the day before in a graphic about the pass protection for Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. The network reportedly blamed the use of the song, widely associated with pro-Confederacy sentiment, on a production staffer.

The graphic was shown during Saturday’s Colts-Texans playoff game, in which Luck led Indianapolis to a 21-7 win. Appearing to play off the popular Twitter account “Capt. Andrew Luck,” in which the quarterback is portrayed as a Civil War officer to humorous effect, ESPN had the Colts star dodging cannon balls while clad in Union military garb.

Among the incongruous elements of the graphic was that soldiers protecting Luck’s character were wearing the gray uniforms of the Confederacy. Some observers found the use of “Dixie” odd, if not offensive, because Indiana fought on the Union side of the Civil War and lost more than 25,000 out of approximately 200,000 from the state who served in battle.

“It was a mistake to use this song. We regret having done so and we apologize,” ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said in a statement to Michael McCarthy of Sporting News.

According to historian Christian McWhirter, via a 2012 essay for the New York Times, “Dixie” was written in 1859 by a Northerner for a minstrel show, and although its lyrics after the first verse are not overtly pro-South — they involve an array of “minstrel cliches,” as McWhirter put it, the chorus proclaims, “I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!/In Dixie’s Land I’ll take my stand/to live and die in Dixie.”

Read entire article at Washington Post

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