ESPN Magazine and a Prince of a Cover


ESPN released its 2014 Body Issue yesterday and all I have to say is “Wow!!”

Back in 2009, ESPN Magazine began publishing the annual issue in response to Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue. Instead of models frolicking on beaches, ESPN featured athletes from various sports in all their gorgeous, tastefully nude glory under the tagline “Bodies We Want”.

For the most part the bodies have been young, lean, toned and/or muscled. Last year the issue included beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings who posed before and after giving birth to her daughter and golfer Gary Player who, at the age of 77, is the oldest athlete featured thus far. But no big bodies which prompted football player A.J. Francis to propose posing for ESPN via Twitter:

Hey @espn you need a fat guy in the body issue… Call my agent. #FatIsSexyToo

followed by:

I’d be willing to bet I’m more famous than some of the athletes in the Body issue from obscure sports… @espn give the fat kids a sex idol.

Perhaps in response to A.J.’s challenge, this year’s issue features, one one of its covers, baseball player Prince Fielder who’s neither lean nor chiseled and he’s absolutely fine with that:

You don’t have to look like an Under Armour mannequin to be an athlete. A lot of people probably think I’m not athletic or don’t even try to work out or whatever, but I do. Just because you’re big doesn’t mean you can’t be an athlete. And just because you work out doesn’t mean you’re going to have a 12-pack. I work out to make sure I can do my job to the best of my ability. Other than that, I’m not going up there trying to be a fitness model.

Did I say “Wow!!!”?

Of course the critics, like “The Paleo Manifesto” author John Durant, are coming out of the woodwork to say that Fielder is too fat to represent one of the “Bodies We Want” because he’s got a bit of a paunch along with big arms and thick thighs. But I and many, many others say kudos to ESPN for showing that big bodies can be athletic and fit and wanted.

Oh, and did I say “Wow!!!!”? I’ll also add “YAY!!!”

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