Aaron Hernandez Photo Removal Irks Award-Winning Photographer, Who Calls Losing Hall Honor ‘Disappointment’

Aaron HernandezA free jersey from the Pats isn’t going to help in this case.

All Mary Schwalm of the Eagle-Tribune of North Andover, Mass., did was shoot an incredible enough photo to make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. All Aaron Hernandez did was get himself into a messy enough situation that everyone wants to distance themselves from Hernandez as quickly as possible.

Schwalm became the latest person to take a hit from Hernandez’s poor choices when the Hall of Fame removed the award-winning photo she took of Hernandez from its walls after receiving complaints. Schwalm told the Sporting News on Monday that, regardless of the circumstances, it still stings that she’s lost the honor.

“It is disappointing,” she said. “I was able to say, ‘I have a photo hanging in the Hall of Fame.’ Can I still say that?”

Schwalm was honored by both the Hall of Fame and the Patriots when the photo was picked as the 2011 winner, and the award puts her in prestigious company. All of that appears to be lost now that the Hall of Fame has removed the photo.

“It’s about the photographer and the photograph,” she said of the Hall’s choice to remove the photo after Hernandez was accused of murdering Odin Lloyd. “It’s not about who’s in the photograph. … To win that award in such a competitive environment — you’re going against Sports Illustrated, all of those. If you look at the list of winners, it’s a who’s who of photographers.”

Schwalm was also the first and only woman to win the award. She said she’s more curious now to know what the Hall of Fame will do about the spot reserved for the 2011 winner, and whether her recognition will be permanently removed. The Hall of Fame did not reach out to tell her about its decision or what it will do in the long run, according to the Sporting News.

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