Sports Illustrated tried to send a political message with this week’s cover of the magazine, but failed miserably.
The cover features several of the biggest names in professional sports, depicted in black and white, joining arms as a clear nod to the national anthem protest talk that has made a big resurgence this week.
“A NATION DIVIDED SPORTS UNITED,” the cover reads in red, white and blue lettering.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 26, 2017
There are a number of things that a wrong with this cover, but first let’s focus on the words here. While the nation is clearly divided on the national anthem issue, the sports world is certainly not united. All you need to do to figure that out is take a look at the handful of different ways NFL players are protesting. Some are kneeling, some are sitting, some are raising their fists, some are standing and locking arms, and some teams have even decided not to take the field until after the national anthem begins. The first sign of true unity on the issue came from the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night when they knelt as a team before the anthem and then stood with their arms locked.
Secondly, what the hell is Roger Goodell doing on the cover locking arms with Steph Curry and where the hell is Colin Kaepernick? Sure, he’s no longer playing in the NFL, but isn’t he the guy who is responsible for getting this whole thing started? Seems like he would be the clear choice to put front and center on the cover of a magazine that’s harking on the resurgent national anthem protests. All Goodell has really done with regard to the national anthem protest is issue a short response to Donald Trump’s remarks on participating players over the weekend.
Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry stands front and center, presumably because of his comments about his team’s potential visit to the White House that is no longer happening. Then there’s LeBron, who defended him against Trump, standing next to him. But neither of these NBA superstars have anything to do with the national anthem protests aside from a few remarks here and there.
this can’t be real pic.twitter.com/ZZom09wEIX
— El Flaco (@bomani_jones) September 26, 2017
I understand what Sports Illustrated is trying to do here, but it completely missed the mark. The sports world is far from united on the issue at hand. It seems that most people and players have even forgotten the issue that Kaepernick said he was kneeling for in the first place: police brutality.
Funny that there’s no depiction of that on this cover. It seems to me that this magazine is turning the issue into a fight between the athletes and Trump rather than focusing on the actual protest. Then again, that’s what everyone’s doing these days, so why not follow suit?