FACT CHECK: Did ESPN Publish This Article About Britney Griner With An Image Of Larry Fitzgerald Instead?

Anna Mock | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows a cover of an ESPN article that uses a photo of former football player Larry Fitzgerald when covering professional women’s basketball player Brittney Griner. 

Verdict: False

The cover is digitally altered. The legitimate article seen on ESPN’s website does not show an image of Fitzgerald.

Fact Check:

Griner has returned to the U.S. after a 10-month detention in a Russian prison for drug charges, Fox News reported. The Biden administration brought Griner home through a prisoner swap involving Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, CBS Sports reported.

The Facebook photo appears to show an ESPN article with a headline about Griner, but an image of Fitzgerald. The image features Fitzgerald in a white suit on an event carpet.

“Brittney Griner freed in U.S.-Russia prisoner exchange,” the alleged title reads. (RELATED: Did CNN Report The Russians Gave Brittney Griner A DNA Test To Determine Her Gender?)

This image is digitally altered, however. The genuine ESPN article shows an embedded news video under the headline, not an image of Fitzgerald. Likewise, the story was posted on ESPN’s verified Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and does not show an image of Fitzgerald on any of these platforms. 

“This was a fabrication. At no point did ESPN use a photo of Larry Fitzgerald with this story,” Andy Hall, a spokesperson for ESPN, told Check Your Fact in an email.

This is not the first time misinformation has spread online. Check Your Fact recently debunked a claim a Russian naval fleet was destroyed in Sevastopol.

UPDATE: This article has been updated to include a comment from an ESPN spokesperson.

Anna Mock

Fact Check Reporter

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