Monday, December 21, 2015

The Sports, er, Person (?) of the Year

Last week Sports Illustrated announced it's annual Sportsman of the Year Award, and it was tennis player Serena Williams.  Now, let me state right off the bat that I have no problem with Ms. Williams winning this award.  Her accomplishments in 2015 and over the course of her career make her a worthwhile recipient of the honor, so congratulations, Serena Williams.

My gripe is with Sports illustrated itself and how they chose to present this award in their magazine.

First, they chose to call it the "Sports Person of the Year", presumably because, what with Ms. Williams being female and all, they couldn't call it Sportsman of the Year.  Now, I don't get as hung up on political correctness as much as many of my generation does, but sometimes these gender neutral pronouns drive me up the wall.  What would have been wrong with naming Serena Williams the Sportswoman of the Year?   Had the award been bestowed upon Tom Brady, Steph Curry, or Bryce Harper would they have been designated the Sports Person of the Year?  And if Brady, Curry, or Harper, or any other male athlete wins it next year, will they be called the Sports Person of the Year?

My second gripe is the cover shot that SI chose to showcase Ms. Williams.  Did they show Serena in her tennis togs in a triumphant moment on the courts of Wimbledon of Roland Garros?  No, they chose this shot:

Sports Illustrated will often take editorial stands and pat themselves on the back on behalf of equality for women athletes everywhere, will say that the female athletes work just as hard, and achieve accomplishments every bit as great as their male counterparts, and how these women athletes should not be denigrated or pushed aside by the sports loving public.  Then they publish this photo on their cover, a photo that would probably work quite well on the "new look" Playboy magazine that will debut this spring.

But, of course, Sports Illustrated is the magazine that brings you the annual Swimsuit Edition, which is, of course, all about sports fashion, right?

And what was Serena Williams thinking in agreeing to this?

Am I the only person who thinks this?

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