With its latest cover, Sports Illustrated attempted to show how the sports world is unified while the rest of the world remains divided on issues such as racial equality, protests during the National Anthem and more. But its efforts were criticized by many, including one of the athletes it featured: NBA superstar Stephen Curry.
Curry’s gripe with the magazine was over free agent NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been both applauded and vilified for taking a knee during the National Anthem in protest of the oppression of people of color in the U.S., being noticeably absent from the cover.
“That was terrible. … The real people that understand what’s been going on and who’s really been active and vocal and truly making a difference,” the Under Armour-sponsored athlete said to media on Wednesday. “If you don’t have Kaepernick front and center of that, then something’s wrong.”
The baller also mentioned to media a comment he posted on an Instagram post by user @warriorstalk of the cover, booing the Sports Illustrated creation on the social media platform.
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With the issue’s release, Sports Illustrated‘s executive editor, Steve Cannella, spoke through the “Sports Illustrated Now” platform about the intent of the cover.
“What we wanted to capture with this cover was, yes, the news of the weekend,” he said. “Yes, this was a weekend of division in many ways, but I think the enduring message in what we saw — especially in the NFL — was this sense of unity. The sports world is acknowledging they’re not perfect; there are a lot of issues underlying everything, but we have to work through those issues.”