Stephen Curry Blasts Sports Illustrated 'Unity' Cover for Not Including Colin Kaepernick

Stephen Curry Blasts Sports Illustrated 'Unity' Cover for Not Including Colin Kaepernick

A few days ago, Sports Illustrated revealed a cover addressing the protests against police brutality and racial inequality via kneeling during the national anthem. The cover was supposed to represent the increasing unity between professional athletes (particularly in the NFL) in protesting both the original issues first brought to attention in this fashion by Colin Kaepernick, as well as the responses by President Trump. There was only one problem: Sports Illustrated didn't include Kaepernick on the cover.

In a very bizarre editorial decision, Sports Illustrated recently released the cover shown below.

https://twitter.com/SInow/status/912663109130756097

The front row shows LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Roger Goodell linking arms, representing the unity professional athletes and sports organizations have shown as the national anthem protests continue to generate controversy. James and Curry recently jumped to front of the issue when Curry declined an invitation to the White House (typically extended to championship teams of major sports), prompting the president to rescind the invitation, which then prompted James to fire back at the president. Goodell, as commissioner of the NFL, appears there as the head of the sport at the center of the controversy, having recently called the president's comments "divisive" and saying he was "proud" of the league's response this past Sunday. 

James, Curry, and Goodell are certainly three logical figures to have on the cover given the situation, but many immediately pointed out that it was not who was on the cover, but who wasn't, namely Colin Kaepernick, whose initial kneeling protest last year was the genesis of the current situation. Stephen Curry himself called it "terrible," saying:

The real people that understand exactly what’s been going on and who’s really been active and vocal and truly making a difference... if you don’t have Kaepernick front and center on that, then something’s wrong.

Sports Illustrated Executive Editor Steven Cannella defended the cover, saying it was meant to show the emerging "unity" of the sports world and saying "in some ways, even though his picture is not there, Colin Kaepernick is there," and mentioning that the cover was meant to show the new and emerging voices.

https://twitter.com/SInow/status/912705100862427137

Even with that explanation, it seems utterly bizarre to not put Kaepernick on the cover, given his pivotal role. What are you thoughts? Regardless of your stance on the protests, was the imagery chosen for the cover an appropriate representation from a photographic standpoint? 

[via Deadspin]

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90 Comments

Previous comments
Ed Sanford's picture

Don't talk to me about police brutality until we face the real problem of black on black crime especially murder. More black men were killed in Chicago last week by other black men than killed by white policemen in a year. This s what I mean about misinformed. Go read the transcript of what the black grand jury and black witnesses found in Ferguson. There was no "hands up don't shoot". So the entire police brutality claim is largely a false narrative. Not one of these kneeling athletes will go into the community and talk to young black men in a manner that helps them grow. So yes, they are misguided and misinformed.

Anonymous's picture

I reject your premise that we can't be work on both at the same time.

I especially disagree police brutality is a false narrative. Somehow we've accepted that a police officers life is always the most important life in any situation. That if there's the slightest chance a police officer could be injured it's okay to kill our citizens. That's a defining characteristic of a police state.

Ed Sanford's picture

Point 1: There is no work being done regarding black on black crime. Point 2: The false narrative is that police killing blacks is in no way as severe as black on black crime. There is an epidemic of crime in the black communities and constitutes the real public safety issue. However, nobody wants to touch it. The use of the term police state is irresponsible when discussing our country. You want to see a police state? Go to Cuba or North Korea or Venezuela. I am old enough to have experienced real racism back in the day. Today there are too many little snowflakes who yell racist, racism, bigotry so much that the worlds have no meaning. Now let's go shoot some landscapes and try to learn color management. The only reason I even posted on this thread is that I am sick to death of the whining. If you see something that needs changing go change it. Nearly every police department in America has openings for those who can do a better job.

Boycott NFL
NO RESPECT-NO SUPPORT

Alex Cooke's picture

Not what this article is about.

Anonymous's picture

I think they wanted to benefit from the controversy without being too controversial. :-/

Alex Cooke's picture

That thought had occurred to me, and I'm starting to believe it more strongly after listening to how wishy-washy the executive editor was when called out on the editorial choices made for the cover.

Kirk Darling's picture

It's not likely a lark getting a variety of owners and players together for a shot. Kaepernick may not have been available that day for all we know. Moreover, the issue has creeped away from that which Kaepernick originally protested. He was protesting racism--the teams and owners are protesting the political reaction.

Anonymous's picture

Of course you're right but if I were unemployed, I'd adjust my schedule to be part of this shoot. I think your "Moreover" statement is closer to the truth.

Alex Cooke's picture

They didn't get James, Curry, and everyone else together; it's Photoshopped.

Kirk Darling's picture

I know the rows are shopped, but they still got groups of players together at specific times, which still takes wrangling. It's still more likely than not that it was Kaepernick who didn't make the shot rather than him not being invited.

Anonymous's picture

It looks like a Photoshop composite image to me. Which would explain Curry's reaction to it.

Christos Dikos's picture

That's because it's a photo of people that hosted a Hillary fundraiser.

Alex Cooke's picture

Not what this article is about.

Christos Dikos's picture

Sorry Alex, I believe it is what it's about. Colin Kaepernick did not support Hillary (or Trump) in the race calling them both liars. The Democratic Party's influence on what gets put into Time inc. magazines is powerful. To believe otherwise is naive. Steph just didn't get the memo.

Christos Dikos's picture

I now see what your asking - perhaps the problem is with the title of the article.

Please, please, please, stop posting this type of material in this site... short of a tutorial on photoshop techniques to create a composite, or why this would've been a better shot on a Sony.

I'd even go as far as deleting this post along with the wonderful comments everyone has left. Issue an apology hand-written note, shot under-exposed on a Canon, then posted and brought back up to life 5 stops higher, with all the glorious noise and banding for everyone to see.

Alex Cooke's picture

No, I'm not going to delete the post and I'm sure not going to issue an apology. Talking about Photoshop techniques is fun, but if we don't confront the power imagery has in our culture, why are we even here in the first place? If you reread the last question of the post, I specifically said this was a question of usage of imagery, not one's stance on the controversy (notice how I didn't talk about my stance in the article), and yet, only one comment actually discusses that.

Anonymous's picture

Really? I thought my comment regarding controversy did just that.

Alex Cooke's picture

Sorry Sam, it did, which is why I replied to it. I was in the midst of replying to about ten other comments and lost track of yours.

All good, I was trying to add some satire to the whole thing. I tried making references to previous articles such as your "Photographer switches system" piece and making references to all the high-dynamic range comments that area always popping up in the photography community.

Yes, I agree with you on your concept on the "usage of imagery" and the value of the question on its effect on society, I did noticed you didn't put your opinion on the article itself, and most if not all of the comments before mine didn't address the actual topic you were trying to bring up... Thus, the attempt at satire.

I think topics like this unfortunately fuel people's preconceptions and any articles and subsequent comments are too easily painted by the reader's perspective, absent body language cues, but I agree they're still important. None of my comments on issuing apologies or whatnot were serious in the first place... I just haven't seen the Canon banding effects on text and am curious about it (see, that sentence was another dry attempt at humor).

But on a serious note, thank you for all your wonderful articles. Sorry if I gave the wrong impression.

Alex Cooke's picture

Oh no worries, Richie; it's hard to gauge tone on the Internet sometimes, so my apologies for misinterpreting yours! Thanks for your kind words. :)

Anonymous's picture

Kaepernick should have been there, but in plain clothes to illustrate that he's been (pardon the pun) blackballed from the NFL, even though he's completely qualified for the job, simply for saying police brutality in a blight on America right now.

Whereas Trump, on the other hand, had an entire campaign based around how much America sucks, was totally unqualified to be President and still got the job.

That's how you know white supremacy is still a thing.

Anonymous's picture

You might want to rein that in a little.

Anonymous's picture

I can't see anything that isn't fair. Some Trump quotes about America:

"We're literally like a third-world country."

"One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace."

“I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me.”

“He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

"We've got a lot of killers. What, you think our country is so innocent?"

Anonymous's picture

In my opinion, and ONLY my opinion, neither candidate was qualified to be president. Everyone had to choose, for themselves, which was the lesser of two evils. The problem with that is, no matter who you voted for, you were still choosing someone unqualified to be president. And nothing you've written supports the idea that "white supremacy is still a thing." Again...in my opinion.

Anonymous's picture

The reason it's indicative of white supremacy is because when Trump criticized America society at large never questioned whether or not he had a right to speak his mind. People are questioning Kaepernick's right to do that. Like they did with protesters, like they did with Kobe Bryant and the cast of Hamilton.

There is a well established tradition in this country of trying to prevent African-American's from exercising their rights. An example would be in the Jim Crow South creating rules that made it difficult for African-Americans to vote.

Now we're trying to silence them by saying things like it's rude to bring up their grievances, simply talking about race is racist, if you're a celebrity you shouldn't talk about politics (even though you pay taxes) etc... Less severe for sure, but the same white supremacist playbook.

It's all BS. It's just new ways of telling them you're worth less than us. Which, also is an American tradition as they used to be legally considered 3/5 of a person.

Anonymous's picture

Well, you're lumping things together again. While I (really) would love to explore these topics at length, I'm not going to do so here. Have a great day! :-)

Mike Yamin's picture

You're inferring a lot from people's reaction to this whole kneeling thing. Mind reader much? There are so few real white supremacists in this country that it's silly to even acknowledge them... you're lumping a lot of people into that category.

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