hope solo abby wambach nippleTeam USA goalie Hope Solo has made quite the impression on America. She's become a household name, everyone's new fave female athlete, and even a possible contender for Dancing With the Stars. But have you heard?? Her squeaky-clean name might be tarnished by a Janet Jackson-like incident that occurred last week! Oh yeah. Or so you'd think given all the hullabaloo surrounding one innocuous image of Solo with fellow hero Abby Wambach after the match against Brazil.

See, it's a tale of two photos. One photo -- displayed on the front page of ESPN.com last night -- varied from another photo, the original version, taken for and distributed by Getty Images (which you're lookin' here on this very page). One thing from the real photo was suspiciously missing from the ESPN version? Solo's erect nipple. HA! Seems like someone over at ESPN was potentially trying to make the pic slightly more G-rated with PhotoShop.

A'course, there's also the argument that the sports site may have tweaked the contrast ever so slightly, and that somehow unwittingly did away with the not-quite-a-nip-slip. I'm more apt to believe that it was a conscious effort on ESPN's part to "smooth over," manipulate, gloss-ify -- however you want to put it -- the original photograph.

And if that's true, then it's just plain ridiculous!

Sports may be entertainment, but a snap of a moment like that, between these two big name women's soccer stars on the world stage, shouldn't be PhotoShopped as if it were a shot of, say, Kim Kardashian strutting down a Beverly Hills boulevard on her way to a dress fitting. Because sorry, whether you like it or not, that's how Hope Solo looked that night. It was what it was!

Not to mention that the idea of a woman's CLOTHED erect nipple being a big bad eyesore or "issue" is a whole different story. Why are we so friggin' uptight about such a silly little thing? It's the human body. It's a real live woman. Oh noes!

The bottom line: Sports photojournalism should fall under the same category as news photojournalism. The aim should be to capture the TRUTH, regardless of whether it's potentially, slightly embarrassing and raw.

What do you think -- do you think ESPN was right to potentially PhotoShop the image of Hope Solo?

 

Image via Martin Rose/Getty