Imagine being a major sports magazine doing a cover story on the players and team leaders who spoke up and spoke out on the issues of race and inequality, and the right to freedom of personal expression—just to leave out the player who is the reason these discussions are being had in the first place.
Imagine being called out on it, even by some of the people you included on the cover, and whitesplaining it with an excuse for every poor judgment call that went into this insult to the movement.
This is what happened with Sports Illustrated Executive Editor Steve Cannella. In a video posted to the publication’s website, Cannella does his best to justify why Colin Kaepernick was excluded from the so-called Sports United cover, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was featured prominently in the front row.
When asked what the goals were behind the cover, Cannella said that this past weekend was historic for both sports and the country, and the magazine wanted to capture the “enduring message”—which was this sense of unity as the sports world comes together and acknowledges that there are issues that need to be worked out, and athletes “of all races, of all colors, of all sports,” will stand united and figure it out.
So if that’s the case, why leave Kaepernick off the cover?
“In some ways, even though his picture is not there, Colin Kaepernick is there; I think we all know that,” Cannella said. “Colin Kaepernick—for lack of a better word—was looming over everything that happened this past weekend, and looms over many issues in society right now.”