Indy Lifts Ban On SI Writer

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The Indianapolis Motor Speedway lifted a ban Thursday of a Sports Illustrated writer who had been denied a credential partly because the magazine ran a photo of fans killed at a race.

The ban had raised concerns at several newspapers around the country, and the Chicago Tribune said it wasn't going to cover the May 30 race as a result.

However, speedway president Tony George decided to reinstate the credential for SI's senior auto writer, Ed Hinton.

"It's my hope that I never see him or they never come around," said George, surrounded by about 30 reporters in the speedway media room.

Sports Illustrated said Hinton would cover the race.

"We're glad it's been resolved. We wish it hadn't come to this," SI spokesman Joe Assad said.

Ken Paxson, the Tribune's racing coordinator, said he wasn't immediately sure what the newspaper would do.

Indy officials were upset by a photo of a sheet-covered body and an article that appeared in the magazine's May 10 issue after three fans were killed May 1 at the IRL's VisionAire 500 in Concord, N.C. Hinton wrote in the article, titled "Fatal Attractions," that such accidents could be avoided.

The speedway offered to provide credentials for a different SI writer, but the magazine declined.

The photograph was taken by The Associated Press. It showed one victim lying on blood-covered grandstand steps with a leg protruding from beneath a sheet and another sheet-covered body.

Brian Horton, AP's senior photo editor for sports, said photo editors were sensitive to the graphic nature of the photographs and took steps to edit them carefully. He said there had been no complaints from AP members.

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