Why is Serena Williams’ SI Sportsperson of the Year cover so controversial?

serena SI

This is Serena Williams’ Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year cover, which was released earlier this week. You can read the full SI profile here – Serena is the first woman to be declared SI’s Sportsperson of the Year since Mary Decker in 1983. Literally, the first woman to get the honor in more than two decades. I didn’t write about it at first because I wasn’t sure if people would be interested, then I didn’t write about it because some people were only interested in criticizing Serena and the magazine for this choice. The Serena-haters are saying the same things they always say, that she’s not “feminine” enough (shut your mouth), that she didn’t have that great of a year (seriously, shut it), that the cover should have gone to a horse (STFU).

There was also some criticism for the way SI posed Serena, and possibly Photoshopped her. I personally LOVE the cover and I love that she’s posed casually on a g—damn throne. QUEEN. But something something sexism because she’s “scantily clad.” Here’s my thing though: if Serena wanted to be fully clothed for her SI Sportsperson of the Year cover, she would have been fully clothed. Let’s allow Serena to have her own agency, you know? She’s comfortable with her body, she loves herself, and this is the cover she wanted. SI even notes in their write-up: “The cover shot of this issue? Her inspiration, intended, like the Pirelli shots, to express her own ideal of femininity, strength, power.”

As for the claims and criticisms that SI Photoshopped the image, a spokesperson for the magazine told HuffPo: “This story has no legs, period. We did nothing to change the integrity of the cover image or likeness of Serena Williams.” Yeah… but I do think they slimmed down her thighs a little bit. I love Serena, I love her power, her strength, her ability and I love that she’s a role model for the thick-thighed. These are not really Serena’s thighs.

Here are some photos of Serena at last night’s SI Sportspersons of the Year event. She looked amazing, even though the dress was… not great.



Cover courtesy of SI, photos courtesy of Getty, WENN.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

116 Responses to “Why is Serena Williams’ SI Sportsperson of the Year cover so controversial?”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Snazzy says:

    That cover is amazing. I love it

    • V4Real says:

      Of course it’s photoshoped, that’s the norm. But she is bringing the sexy just right.

      • Ivy says:

        The cover looks awesome but I find it quite sad that an athlete’s body can’t be shown on a sports magazine without having it slimmed down.
        Love the throne setting, Serena is a queen.

      • KCAT says:

        She looks sexy and that’s a problem for some people. Oh well lol. They could have done away with the photoshop.

    • Pinky says:

      Her face on the cover is daring anybody to say anything about it. She ruled that shoot. Love it! (Her dress? Not so much. Not at all, actually. And her eyebrows need Lawn Doctor ™.)

      • ekaterina says:

        Great choice picking Serena. If she wanted to show her body, how different types are sexy then she shouldn’t be photoshoped. Also, tired of female sports elite having sexualized covers,u never see the men doing it why should the women.

    • Jess says:

      Ditto. She’s a great choice for the title, I love the shot, and she is and looks awesome. This will be the first time I ever buy a Sports Illustrated!

    • Samtha says:

      I ADORE that cover, but I wish they hadn’t removed half of her thighs!

    • I Choose Me says:

      Me too. I echo the wish that they’d left her thick, strong thighs alone but this cover is fabulous and well deserved.

    • phlyfiremama says:

      This is seriously one of the most AMAZING covers of all time. The reason for all the controversy? Two things, it’s very simple: 1. She is a woman and 2. She is black. If this were a white male athlete in tighty whities (say, David Beckham) no one would say a flippin’ word about “controversy”.

  2. Tiffany says:

    Yeah…I was not thrilled with it either. If this was Serena’s choice, so be it.

    Don’t normally buy SI, but will this time. There are plenty of awesome female atheletes that deserve the titles and covers.

  3. Skyblue says:

    I love her! All I can think though is how my dad comments every time he sees her on television. “Boy, I’d hate to run into her in a dark alley”. I’m not sure why he equates her amazing power with a vision of her beating an elderly white man in an alley. There are days I want to beat him up so maybe his fears aren’t that far off. Anyway, she’s amazing!

  4. Birdix says:

    It’s gross if they slimmed her thighs, sends the message that her strength isn’t beautiful enough. Hate that idea, and hope it’s not true.

    • Erinn says:

      I’d say they also slimmed her bicep. If you look really close, her bicep area is thinner than the upper part of her forearm, and the bottom part of the curve of the chair isn’t the proper angle. But I had to look really close to see it, and work with photoshop as part of my job. My guess is that they slimmed her limbs, and there is something weird about how straight the line goes from her abdomen to her right leg (our left) – one if not both sides of her waist has been altered a bit – it just doesn’t look like a natural angle when her body is clearly turned towards the camera.

      I will say – it does seem to be minimal editing of her shape compared to most. Other than that, they’ve just smoothed out skin tone, likely increased the highlights and shadows, or added some – but that – to me- is within fair game of photoshopping.

      She’s a gorgeous woman, and it is sad that even athletes are tweaked up in editing.

  5. Nev says:

    Bet you they won’t say it to her face.

  6. Belle Epoch says:

    Did people want to see her in tennis whites?

    • NYer says:

      Not sure. But I have to ask how they would have posed a male tennis star. In a onesie with an oiled leg slung over the arm of the chair, the other leg 30 degrees away from a crotch shot? Doubtful.

      • Pandy says:

        Yeah, the chicks somehow always end up in a bikini on SI covers, don’t they?
        LOVE Venus’ dress.

    • swack says:

      Does she even wear tennis whites while she plays? Seems to me, both her and her sister, stay away from tennis whites – which by the way i LOVE.

  7. Mayamae says:

    I’m torn. It’s hard to complain of objectification of women, then applaud this cover. I think it’s also over simplification to say it’s fine, Serena has agency. But if it was her call and she loves it – ok, I guess. Good for her.

    • lucy2 says:

      Same here. I love that they chose her, she deserved it, but…I don’t know. The last handful of winners have all been full clothed or in their team uniform for the cover photo, and there was nothing sexualized about the way they were posed.

    • MollyO says:

      I’m on the same page. Love her, admire her, revere her. But the pose is very provocative. The splayed open legs makes me think of the famous image by Picasso of the demoiselles d’avignon. And I’m not sure that’s a good thing. But I applaud her agency and her gaze here.

  8. Annie says:

    The cover says it all, baby.

  9. Scal says:

    do I wish she was wearing pants? Sure. Do I think for even one second that they would have done this with a male athlete -no. When they have a cover its all about the sport or looking cool. When little girls see this cover will they think ‘it’s not enough to be awesome at soccer/skiing etc-I have to be hot on a magazine cover to’

    Its not worth getting really upset over. It’s just the same as ever when it comes to female athletes. The people calling for a horse to be ‘sportsPERSON’ of the year are idiots.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Isn’t this the same magazine that regularly features naked male sports people though?

    • Tough Cookie says:

      I’m one of those idiots, thank you very much LOL!!! But it’s ok, I’ve been called worse. Besides, I waited 37 years for another Triple Crown winner!!

      • Kate says:

        Love Serena, but I wanted the KC Royals to take it. Like you tough cookie, I waited a long long time for that win!

  10. Mimi says:

    Her thighs are more than a little slimmed down in the cover, which is hillarious, given the mag (AND Serena) are fronting it like her body is perfect as it is (which I endorse since, whatever floats your boat and your tastes).
    Generally, I’m not a fan of hers because I don’t follow/like tennis, so whatever, good for her, her fans and tennis fans in general.

    • JenniferJustice says:

      I agree. I find it ironic that the article author applauds her for being a role model for the thick thighed while admitting that she’s had her thighs obviously photo-shopped. What? If she’s so proud of her body, why pretend she has a slimmer body than she does on a major cover? Makes no sense, completely contradictory.

      IMO Sports Illustrated is and always has been about objectifying women and men – but for those who like to look at more athletic bodies.

  11. Josephine says:

    To me, the problem is that almost every female athlete that appears on a cover or even in a story seems to be half naked. Yes, they have spectacular bodies, but I’m tired of female athletes always being portrayed as sexual beings so that they don’t intimidate people too much with their strength. My daughter, quite the athlete herself, definitely notices.

    • OhDear says:

      In Williams’ case, though, she’s thought of as “manly” and “unfeminine” because she’s muscular (and let’s face it, there are also a lot of racial stereotypes attached to people’s attitudes towards her and her body). In this case it seems like she’s showing people up.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        There is that aspect to think about as well.

        Serena has actually been incredibly unsexualized in her career and frankly insulted for not having the typical bouncing Barbie body.

        This might also be her way of saying, “Yes I am sexy, strong, and a bomb athlete. Deal with it.”

      • Dani says:

        I think this is exactly why she wanted to look sexy. Wasn’t there an article about how she’s the best female athlete, but Maria Sharapova or whatever has way more endorsements because her look is “more ideal”? If I won this award after all the crap Serena’s gotten about her body, I’d want to show all the haters what a sexy queen I was too. People can stay pressed.

  12. LAK says:

    has she done something to her face? latterly her face, at live events mind not magazine editorials, looks different. or is it the make up? photohopping aside, the editorial looks more like Serena’s regular face than her red carpet photos. perhaps i’m imagining the change.

    • Kip says:

      I noticed it too, looks like fillers to me. Don’t do it Serena!

    • CG says:

      She definitely did some tweaking (nose job, at the very least) five or six yeasts ago. I agree it looks like she’s had recent work done too!

  13. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I think it’s sexist, sorry. Even if it is her own idea of the perfect ideal of femininity, strength and power or whatever – wtf does femininity have to do with anything? Why do women always have to be sexy, or feminine or why are we even talking about her femininity? She’s sportsPERSON of the year. Why isn’t she posed to look athletic? Or strong? Or fast? A man would be. You wouldn’t see a man with a top on but no pants with his legs spread on a cover like this. Look at past covers of men – baseball players are in their uniform, throwing a ball. Football players are in their uniform, throwing a ball. Muhammad Ali is wearing a tuxedo. Complete with pants. I am all for women owning their sexuality and all that, but this is inappropriate if women want to taken seriously on an equal par with men. It’s like “a woman on the cover, no thanks, oh, she looks sexy, ok.” I am weary.

    • Annemarie says:

      THIS! I like the cover and I think she looks beautiful. At the same time, it’s frustrating to see women being sexualized over and over again on covers where men don’t have to be sexualized.

      • Jag says:

        Y’all both said it perfectly.

        I love that she had her own ideas about the cover, but it irks me that her idea was to be sexual, rather than sporty. And I also don’t like how much they slimmed down her thighs and smoothed her muscles. Muscles are sexy, too.

    • TheOtherMaria says:

      If the shoot was her idea, what’s the issue?

      How many times has her femininity been called into question?

      She looks fierce, amazingly beautiful, and is chilling on a throne like the queen of tennis that she is–maybe this shoot is her way of telling those who try to tear her down that she’s still at the top and sexy while doing it.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        The issue is that women say they want to be taken as seriously on every level, then they turn an opportunity to be equal into validation of their sexuality. What does that have to do with being sportsperson of the year? A man wouldn’t do this because it’s unprofessional and frankly, silly. There’s an unspoken thought that in order to be complete, excellent, the best, women HAVE to also be sexually attractive, even when sexual attractiveness has nothing to do with your skills. She’s a phenomenon on the court. If she were a man, that would be enough.

      • V4Real says:

        I get what you’re saying, I really do.

        Though Serena has done many magazine covers and some have her clothe while others have her in a swimsuit. Why pick on this particular time where she decided to dress and appear on the cover the way she wanted to. She was covered on Vogue magazine as well as Time. She was in a dress on the cover of Glamour mag. On one cover of Sports Illustrated she was in athletic shorts similar to what a man would wear. Another SI cover had her in her tennis gear. On two covers of Essence mag she is covered. She’s fully covered on the cover of Jet mag. And there have been times when she has posed in a bikini like for Fitness mag when you’re supposed to show of your physique. She was also in a bikini for the cover of Vogue Team USA but guess what she is right next to swimmer Ryan Lochte who is shirtless in swim trunks. What I’m saying is this. It’s not like Serena Williams is constantly taking her cloths off for the cameras and magazine covers so why are some people giving her so much crap because she chose to celebrate herself in a sexy photo-shoot. Sometimes I think women take the sexualization of women to the extreme. This is not JLaw or that Emily girl from the Blurred Lines video. This is Serena Williams who has been told she is not sexy, not attractive, she is too manly looking. I doubt anybody would say just because she appeared on the cover of SI in a bodysuit that they don’t take her serious. She has proven herself time and time again. Now it’s time for her to show her sexy side and have a little fun doing it.

        Side note How many times have David Beckham posed with his shirt off and in nothing but his underwear but women don’t complain about that. Instead they swoon over him. Even Tim TeBow posed in his underwear on a Billboard that was featured in Time Square. You could say what does posing in your underwear have to do with Soccer and Football? Oh and let’s not forget that completely naked photo of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the French tennis player

      • Nikki says:

        GNAT, although later I say she can pose however she likes because of all she’s dealt with, I DO agree with you, 100%. Only women are sexualized in anything and everything they accomplish, and our basic worth is tied in with our sexual appeal. You said it absolutely right. Thank you for fighting this insidious mind set.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Very valid points. I am not mad at or criticizing Serena herself. It just annoys me that women have to add “being sexy” to their list of accomplishments to feel whole or as if we are the whole package. I wish our accomplishments were enough on their own, especially since the article is about sports. It might make sense on a different kind of magazine.

        Look, I like her and don’t want to pile on her when people are so mean and tell her she’s not pretty or feminine enough or whatever. It’s not that I begrudge her having fun and feeling sexy or showing that strong can be sexy and all that. She’s a beautiful woman, and the fact that she’s an athlete shouldn’t preclude her from enjoying her femininity or sexuality. I just wish our society didn’t seem to have the built in requirement that we have to be excellent at what we do AND look good in a bikini.

        As for the men you talk about, I see what you’re saying. The difference I see is that it isn’t required for these men to be sexy in order for them to be recognized. As for Serena’s other magazine covers, forgive me, but I just don’t know enough about them to reply. I’m sure I’ve seen many nice covers of her, but I don’t remember much about them. I really am not trying to pick on her. I just wish the world thought about women differently.

    • vauvert says:

      Thank you for articulating my thoughts exactly GNAT. It’s funny – in the past I have expressed similar feelings about various celebs and their level of (un)dress and the need for women to always bring the sexy on and got schooled about owning your sexuality and empowerment, blah blah.
      It is not empowerment if you are selling sexy. It is pandering. Maybe she chose this to express her confidence in her own beauty but again, why does a woman need to prove beauty? Why is that a requirement for acceptance, success or validation of one’s worth? You can choose to just pose looking athletic or business like or casual or many other things, no need for a leotard and splayed legs.
      That being said I love her. I wish they didn’t Photoshop her amazing body – why would anyone do that??

    • Lyla Lotus says:

      Absolutely to all of this OP!

  14. Pedro45 says:

    She is gorgeous and amazing but that dress… Yikes.

  15. Lizzie McGuire says:

    I like the cover she deserves it as for the “photoshop”, well they photoshop everyone that’s no news. People need to stop criticizing it was her idea of posing like that & she felt comfortable. Good for her, go Serena.

  16. Bluesky says:

    Is she messing with her face? In the second pic?

    • KAI says:

      In July 2010, when she cut her foot on glass in a restaurant and missed the remainder of the season, she came back with a very different looking face and the changes appeared to be more than just botox or fillers. In these pictures she looks like she’s done something again.

    • LAK says:

      Thank goodness.

      i thought i was imagining the change in her face.

    • teatimeiscoming says:

      I see Shades of Li’l Kim’s cheek implants. I thought I was imagining her face looking different, too; I sorta chalked it up to make-up because I’m so used to seeing her bare-faced. Then I saw your comments, and I felt a little less sure.

  17. Annemarie says:

    Unfortunately not a lot of people like to see black women being successful.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      There’s that too, let’s be real. Lots of people hate the fact she’s so successful, too black, too big, unfeminine, blah blah blah.

    • Charlotte15 says:

      So it isn’t possible that some people just don’t like Serena or find her attractive and it has nothing whatsoever to do with her race? I don’t like Scarlett Johannson or see her appeal either. Not everyone who finds Serena unattractive is a racist.

    • KCAT says:

      “Unfortunately not a lot of people like to see black women being successful.” Facts!! That’s what it is because she IS one of the greatest athletes of all time, male or female. It’s ok if some don’t like her looks or personality, but she is an exceptional athlete. She deserves EVERYTHING she gets. Miss me with that other stuff.

    • Kath says:

      Yup. That’s the bottom line. There is so much coded language thrown around in Serena Williams’ case (she’s not ‘feminine’, I don’t like her ‘attitude’ etc.), but the bottom line is that a lot of people can’t deal with a strong black woman who WINS.

    • La La Land says:

      Firstly, I don’t find any woman black or any race with a large muscular build very attractive … just saying and I’ve been called an antelope myself … but I don’t need to remind anyone in our culture that black women AND men are considered more unattractive than other non blacks … which is why animals get better treatment than people. It’s simple about image.

      Food for thought: substandard wages is one good reason why government wants to keep as many non whites out of monetary and POLITICAL power. Just wanted to convey that on here 🙂

      ps i like her get up in both pics

  18. Spikey says:

    I can’t put my finger on it, but I find her “eerily pretty”. That’s probably not the right word, but the elves of my childhood fantasies looked like her.

    What the heck is wrong with people?! It’s disgusting what this woman has to put up with.

  19. Lala says:

    She should have lost to the horse, who won 47% (?) of the public vote, I believe.

  20. Tig says:

    Well, American Pharoah did win SI’s on-line poll, so there is that😃! Just joking-tho was holding my breath during the Belmont.

    Re Serena’s cover-If it was her choosing, then if she’s happy, so be it. I get the queen allusion, but if that’s the case-then go for it-crown and all. I was a bit disappointed that this was the best they could do-black stiletto heels? That’s such a cliche.

  21. K says:

    Ok seriously how can anyone say she didn’t deserve this honor? I don’t even watch or like tennis and I KNOW everything that Serena did she was that accomplished. I mean you know you had a huge year and made a massive impact when people who can’t stand the sport are taking notice and caring and she made did that.

    She is a bit objectived in the photo but it’s not terrible and if it’s her choice then ok, also it’s SportsIlistrated they will never not sadly I mean it was 22 years between women getting this honor, like women haven’t killed it in sports in the last 22 years.

    People complaining about this are sad, she earned it and it’s exciting to see one of these magazines get it right side eying billboard

  22. FrenchGirlChi says:

    She looks lovely on the cover. I don’t see anything wrong with her cover on SI.
    She is deserving considering all she has accomplished as a whole. Her whole career she has done a lot that is what see. Why must people limit to just this year.

  23. JenniferJustice says:

    I’m pretty disappointed and not at all impressed with this shoot. Who really cares about anybody’s sex appeal? And if she is so confident about her body being sexy, why photo shop herself into a slimmer version? Why is she messing with her face? Sounds like people WANT her to be confident with her strong muscular body, but the fact is, she is not confident with it regardless of what she says. Her actions belie her words. She is in fact trying to be the softer more feminine bodied woman she claims she is not and proud not to be. I don’t get the love. All I see is hypocracy.

  24. Anonny says:

    As a non-sports fan, even I heard of American Pharoah. The triple crown is an incredibly rare achievement, but I guess SI is really not about sports. It’s about sex and swimsuits, no disrespect to Serena specifically.

    I guess horse racing isn’t that popular anymore, but people will remember this Triple Crown winner for 2015 decades to come while random tennis championships will fade into the dust.

  25. Mellie says:

    She has an awesome, athletic, strong body…there was no need to Photo Shop anything. As for the award, she most definitely deserved it…hands down!

  26. Dolphin7 says:

    I love Serena Williams but American Pharoah should have won. He got the readers’ online poll by far. His accomplishments: the Triple Crown, the Haskell, and the Breeders Cup Classic were something that has never been done before. Many people thought we would never see a Triple Crown winner again. Also, American Pharoah is part of his team: jockey, trainer, and owner. And the sportsmanship they displayed was something my husband, who is not a horse person, could not get over. Donating Pharoah’s winnings to charities, letting thousands of fans from 3 week old babies to 100 year old people in wheelchairs pet their horse, racing him when they could have retired him after the Belmont because the people wanted to see him run. And Pharoah himself (I’ve met him) is an unbelievably sweet horse who loved meeting his fans. It is a very rare quality in a racing 3 year old colt to be as gentle as he is, and a quality that makes his owner and trainer cry to talk about. So I think the sportsman award would have been nice to give to American Pharoah and his whole team.

    • jc126 says:

      I totally agree. American Pharoah has done the unthinkable in horse racing – winning the Triple Crown would’ve been amazing enough, but everything else – unbelievable! I can’t imagine the world will see a horse like that again! (I like to think that the late, great Barbaro would’ve won the Triple Crown, though.) American Pharaoh and his team deserved an award for Sports Athlete of the Year, or Sports Achievement of the Century, or however it could’ve been worded.

      Serena could’ve remained Sportsperson of the Year. I wish SI would follow this with a cover about American Pharaoh. He’s not just “a horse”.

      • Tig says:

        Your Barbaro reference made me tear up! He was a magnificent horse as well- and his ultimately sad tale was such an emotional journey.

        Re Pharoah- why all the angst if SI allowed their on-line poll to include him? They had no prob with him being in the mix- SI could have said, nope, people only, but didn’t!

    • Pansy says:

      Ok, I’m so out of the loop. I’m a tennis fan that was irate thinking people were saying a horse would’ve been more attractive than the Almighty Serena!! But now I see that it was a literal horse for a specific achievement.
      Hangs head in embarrassment–but I was ready to fight for you, Serena!

  27. lisa says:

    i dont see what is ridiculous about the horse winning (referencing the article by kaiser)

    • Lara says:

      It’s sportsPERSON of the year right? Then why the hell would a horse even be considered, It’s ridiculous because a horse isn’t a person.

      • lisa says:

        meh then dont ride them around the track for millions of dollars

      • Colette says:

        @lisa Well so let’s make a race car Sportperson of the year since it’s driven around the racetrack and earns millions for the owner.

      • lisa says:

        a horse is a living thing, the horse is every bit the athlete a human is

        if a human track and field athlete could win, i dont see why the horse cant

  28. Jessica says:

    Actually, I could very much see giving it to a horse. American Pharoah is the first triple crown winner in almost 4 decades. That’s a huge deal.

  29. Colette says:

    Oh yeah a horse should be the sportsPERSON of the year.

  30. Algernon says:

    I’m fine with Serena earning this title for the year, but I do wish they could have done something to recognize American Pharaoh (and his jockey, it’s a team), beyond the online poll. I think they should have named American Pharaoh “Sports Achievement of the Year” or something like that. Just something to say, “Hey, this is a horse but he did something no horse has done in nearly forty years. He’s an extraordinary athlete, with an exceptional rider, and together they achieved one of the greatest sporting moments of the year.”

  31. Minxx says:

    This cover is awesome and she has every right to sit on that throne. Period.

  32. kri says:

    She is the queen. She should damn well be sitting on her throne in a damn lace leotard, looking amazing. That’s all.

  33. Ollie says:

    Her face… she morphs into Lil Kim

  34. censored says:

    Its called Sportsperson of the year A Horse is not a person and would we really be having this convo if Tom Brady or Stefanie Graf had won ?…….. NOPE
    Uuugh People

  35. maggie says:

    She looks like a man in that hideous dress! Too bad they photoshopped the cover as she has a glorious body.

  36. Robin says:

    She’s one of the most amazing athletes ever, man or woman, and she deserves the cover. Too bad the cover doesn’t show her as an athlete, but tries to make her a sex object. Oiled up and posing suggestively with her legs so obviously photoshopped…too sad. And that dress is just hideous and does her no favors.

    Just search for past SI Sportsman of the Year covers to see how differently Serena was treated.

  37. Veronica says:

    I have mixed feelings about this cover. On one hand, Serena Williams is incredible, on the other hand…do we really think they’d shoot a man like this? It’s not the throne or the leotard that’s the problem. It’s the pose that bothers me.

  38. me says:

    So is Serena ok with them giving her a completely different body on the cover? Where are her real legs? You know the toned athletic legs she works hard for every day?

  39. KCAT says:

    It’s because she’s Black. She’s one of the greatest athletes of all time. Some even wanted to give it a horse over her??…for SI Sports PERSON of the year? You racists are so pathetic. It’s laughable. How do some of y’all get joy for cheating or trying to cheat? She’s earned everything she works for and took all the racism and body shaming like a…CHAMP!

    It doesn’t matter WHAT you feel about her looks! She’s an athlete. THAT is what we’re talking about.

    • me says:

      SI conducted a vote to see who the public thought should get sportsperson of the year. There were a number of athletes including a horse (the jockees name was not included oddly enough). The horse got the most votes but SI decided that Serena deserved the win. People complained saying the voting was for nothing if they weren’t going to honor the one that actually got the highest votes. The problem lies with SI for including a horse on the list of “sportspeople” to vote for in the first place. A horse is not a person. Why would they do that? I don’t see how racism has anything to do with this. There were athletes of other ethnicities on the list as well, who all lost out to a horse. I believe this cover of SI will sell very well.

    • Dolphin7 says:

      It has nothing to do with Serena Williams being black!!! I’m glad she got it over someone like Tom Brady. I think it’s awesome that girls (and women) have athletes like Serena Williams and Rhonda Rousey to look up to. However, as a horse person, American Pharoah did something no other horse has done before. His human connections-trainer, jockey, and owner, went above and beyond sportsmanship in including fans on his journey, allowing regular fans to pet their superstar, and donating money to charity including retraining of Thoroughbreds to have second careers as a sport horse. For what it’s worth, of those three people I mentioned, only one (his trainer) is white. His jockey is Hispanic, his owner is Egyptian. This has nothing do with skin color but athletic achievement and sportsmanship. I saw Mr. Zayat (the owner) carry a disabled teenager up out of his wheelchair to pet this horse who stood perfectly quiet while this boy petted him. I saw an old woman come up to the owner crying saying she never thought she would see the return of a great horse like Secretariat and he hugged her and started crying too. After Barbaro and Eight Belles broke down on the track many racing fans were afraid to watch. American Pharoah is the happily ever after horse people have dreamed about for fifty years, not to mention the incredible generosity his owners showed sharing their champion with the world.

      • me says:

        @ Dolphin7

        The only problem I have is that the Jockey was not mentioned in the list of “sportsperson of the year” nominees. The Jockey plays such a huge part and deserved their name to be next to the horse. Either way, I agree that this is not an issue of racism. I think the problem is people didn’t bother to learn about the whole story before jumping to conclusions. Glad you were able to share the TRUTH.

    • Kath says:

      Yup. The whole thing makes me stabby-crazy. It’s like all the language that gets thrown around by right-wing Republicans towards Obama (‘I don’t trust him’, ‘hes’ not American’, ‘where are his college transcripts?’), when all they want to say is “HE’S BLACK, HE’S BLACK, HE’S BLACK”.

      How much more does Selena need to do, FFS? She’s the reigning champion of tennis – male or female – and she gets so much of this crap. She has more grace than I do.

      • KCAT says:

        They use code language and switch it up like we’re stupid. She’s walking grace because many people should have been knocked to the floor a long time ago. When she finally reacts, some try to say that she’s wild, an ABW or my fav…ghetto. That’s actually a natural response from ANY human being who’s attacked consistently. It’s actually common sense.

  40. Eden75 says:

    I like the cover, minus the photoshop. I think she looks fabulous. As to what she’s wearing, I have seen more of her on the tennis court. Watch it sometime, the outfits all of the ladies wear have a tendency to ride, leading to camel toe and ass flash. (Whites are at Wimbleton as I believe that those are the rules for it.)

    I also get the feeling that if she hadn’t wanted to pose like this, she wouldn’t have. Serena is by far a powerful enough force to say not gonna happen if she had objected.

    You look beautiful Serena! You deserve the throne.

    • Dolphin7 says:

      I agree Victor Espinoza should be up there, or maybe Team Pharoah as they call themselves, including the owner (who owned and bred the sire and dam) and Bob Baffert, who is an amazing trainer. Victor also won the Derby and the Preakness last year with California Chrome. I think Serena is a beautiful woman and an incredible athlete. Team Pharoah went out of their way to congratulate her on her win, they are a class act all the way.

  41. nikki says:

    I’ve seen serena play and she is way smaller than she appears -tv adds 30 lbs
    to her frame…Good for her….what about the guys who pose almost nude…STAN
    and mr Novak who always rips his shirt when playing…geez she was outstanding
    last year….

    • Nikki says:

      Wow, there are 2 Nikki’s here with opposite views! I’m the longwinded one who loves what GNAT and VAUVERT said above! I’d better change my name…

  42. Sochan says:

    That’s clearly not her real shape in the cover photo. And for them to have changed it that must mean they didn’t want her real shape on their cover. And for them to not want her real shape on their cover she must have approved it. So I’m getting real mixed signals here. If she’s proud of her body then why submit to a magazine changing it?

  43. Nikki says:

    To state the obvious, people of color are always judged more harshly in general. Serena is an AMAZING athlete, and the NYTimes had a big story this past year on how her body didn’t fit the norm for feminine beauty! Serena IS a queen. She’s earned the right to wear whatever she wants for her cover, and pose how she prefers, since she’s dealt with naysayers and insults her whole career. I agree with Ivy, though, that it’s sad even an athlete “has” to be photoshopped!

  44. Reece says:

    That dress AND those brows are not great. OMG who did that to her?
    The cover however is gorgeous!

  45. Dizzybenny says:

    Calm the ”F” down everyone, it’s a sports magazine and actually it’s more a commercial magazine with a few sports stories thrown in there.

    Is it me or the photo reminds me of the Pirelli calendar photo-shoot background?
    Did Annie what’s her name take the pic for the cover?
    And yeah the dress is really bad!!
    Looks like they didn’t have time to finish it and she decided to wear it anyway.

  46. TotallyBiased says:

    Too little, too late? SI has an online article honouring American Pharaoh for Sports Achievement of the Year (decade if not century is more like, given that he won not only the Triple Crown but also possibly the most competitive event in horse-racing’s calendar–the Breeder’s Cup. In other words, AP DID win his Grand Slam.)
    If they’d done it that way from beginning, there would have been much less outcry. Even without winning it all, Serena Williams has been an amazing Sportsperson this year. Incredible athleticism and a fierce redefinition of feminity. They didn’t need to be put in some head to head clickbait competition that the editors clearly intended to ignore anyway.


  47. Zizi says:

    I don’t like this cover. SO typical and sexist. DO you really believe SHE called every shot on this cover? No way. Good for “her”, but it’s just demeaning to women and it would help if she stood stronger in that. But then again, she really wants people to see her as a sexy woman too.

  48. HappyCamper says:

    I just want to thank CeleBitchy for writing great articles, keeping it real, calling people out when need be, and just being generally good writers and people. This is the ONLY celeb gossip site I visit that doesn’t have a plethora of race baiting articles and depressing comment sections. Speaking of which, shoutout to the commenters for being decent human beings with actual souls. Love this site. Happy Holidays to all. 🙂

  49. Kelly says:

    Am I losing my mind? It’s 3 decades, right? Not two.