Did ESPN Photoshop Tiger Woods Mugshot?

Tiger Woods was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and was later photographed by the police for a mugshot. The mugshot that was taken was not the exact copy of one that ESPN used on their site. The photo that ESPN used appeared to look a little different.

ESPN is accused of taking the mugshot of Tiger Woods and putting it through Photoshop to tidy up his hair and other aspects. Not only was his hair fixed up, possibly by a bad crop job, but also the background from the original mugshot was also changed from green to blue.


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At first thought it would seem they may have edited the mugshot to protect Tiger Woods because they have a close relationship with him which would make some kind of sense but still would not explain why an edit was needed.

It is possible that because they edited his mugshot to change the background color they had to edit some of his hair out to get rid of some of the green background in between his hair. Getting rid of those strands of hair to gain access to the green in that area could have been an option for them.

Using the magnetic pen in Photoshop is difficult with something as a tiny strand of hair on a photo, it being so small it will skip past that area and miss it completely so is better to remove that area all together if you are looking to edit that area.

If you look at the two pictures above you can quite clearly see that not only does Tiger Wood's hair look a lot more cleaner and more slicked to the side but the background is also a completely different color.

The fuzziness of his hair has completely disappeared in the photo that was used on the ESPN site leaving it more flat to the head and getting rid of the thin strands.

The pictures do not appear to look any better though no matter how you look at them, Tiger Woods still looks rough in both photo's due to being under the influence.

The immediate question raised by most is, why would ESPN go out of their way to improve the appearance of Woods in his mugshot? The conspiracy theory, of course, would be that ESPN was protecting a popular athlete with whom they have a close relationship.

But like many conspiracy theories, there is simpler answer: it may have just been unintentional, sloppy work.

When selecting part of an image in Photoshop, to move it to a different background, the most popular methods are the "lasso" tool, which allows the user to select the portion they want by simply drawing a freehand line, or the "magnetic freeform pen" which is similar to the lasso, but assists the user by having the line "stick" to edges.

The question is now, why would ESPN edit this photo? Could it have been to give the background a more friendly color over the green?

I do not see any reason why the green background was not just as good as the blue that appears in the changed photo. It does make the photo look less dull with the blue background but it's a mugshot, it's supposed to look dull.

Could it have been that they wanted to make him look more presentable in his mugshot and that is why they changed his hair in Photoshop? Again this is a mugshot of a man that just got arrested for driving under the influence, he is going to look rough.

Another scenario might be that the person who edited the photo rushed the work therefore cropping sections out to edit area's that were difficult giving Tiger Woods that cleaner look.

Why would ESPN be so bothered about making a man like Tiger Woods look more presentable in a mugshot if he had broken the law? Maybe his close relationship had something to do with the edits they made.

Whether it was put through Photoshop to protect Tiger Woods or just to make the image look more friendly we will never know and I doubt ESPN will come forward and tell us why they both looked so different.

If you were an editor or photo toucher-upper at ESPN would you agree to edit a mugshot for someone who had close ties with the company? 

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