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The 5 biggest problems with ‘Sports Illustrated's’ 'protest' cover

This is a failure.

Sports Illustrated unveiled its upcoming cover on Tuesday, and people weren’t impressed:

Attempting to tap into protests that were held around the NFL last weekend and the back-and-forth between President Trump and Warriors star Stephen Curry, the cover aims to present sports as a unified force amid a country in turmoil.

What it fails to do is depict why protests began in the first place. It ignores discussions about police brutality, glosses over anything that happened before the last 10 days, and lands with something that’s an insult to the players and people in sports trying to fight for legitimate change in America.

Where’s Colin Kaepernick?
Any presentation of protest without Kaepernick at the fore does a disservice to the discussion he started and the players who are attempting to continue it. Even if your argument is that SI decided to keep its cover to more prominent, current figures — Kaepernick is still more qualified to have a spot than Roger Goodell, Shad Khan, or Aaron Rodgers.

Why is Goodell on the cover anyway?
The NFL commissioner released a single, three-sentence statement about how the president’s comments failed to respect the NFL and its players, and suddenly he was catapulted to being one of the leaders of protest, at least according to this cover.

Goodell gets more prominent billing than Michael Bennett, who’s relegated to the back row. Yet, he is a player who has spoken vocally about police brutality, been subject to it himself and made huge investments into the community through his foundation — all things that take more time, effort, and energy than a three-sentence statement:

Shad Khan linked arms with his players, good enough to make the cover ...
Never mind the fact that the Jaguars owner donated $1 million to Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016, he linked arms with his players in London. That’s basically the entire problem with the conceit of this cover. It completely missed the point of why protests were occurring in the first place, and instead made it about unity and Donald Trump — not what the focus should have been, which leads us to ...

Why is Steph Curry front and center?
Curry definitely should be on this cover. After all, he got called out by the president directly — but by making him the primary focal point in the picture it ensures the discussion is pushed further away from police violence toward minorities and refocused as Sports vs. Trump.

Women are grossly underrepresented.
When Kaepernick first took a knee, the most prominent athlete to follow close behind him was Megan Rapinoe. The USWNT superstar is nowhere to be found.

The WNBA has been protesting without enough attention or fanfare for a year. Its only representation was Candace Parker. Ten people on the cover; only one woman — and missing many women who have done more to raise awareness than Khan, Aaron Rodgers, and Goodell ever have.

NFL's message of ‘unity’ has diluted Colin Kaepernick's reasons for protest