Year after year, the ESPN Body Issue answers the question: Are athletes’ butts really as giant and powerful in real life as they seem inside their clothing? The answer: yes they are, even when one may not want it to be. For instance: Golfer and Peak Australian Greg Norman is sixty-two years old and nude in the 2018 issue. You may not be happy about this, but your auntie? Your auntie is very happy about this, even if the photo shoot does sort of look like it should be subtitled “Fit Dad Has A Nervous Breakdown at TPC Sawgrass”.
There are a wide range of body types, ethnicities, and different sports represented in the Body Issue. There remains one stubborn representation problem in the Body Issue, however: The complete lack of those who fall into the category of “mascot-bodied.”
Over 70% of all Americans can claim status as mascot-bodied. The type — also known as Minion Thicc in some corners — is the nation’s most common, and yet least represented in contemporary culture. This continues despite entire booming economies dedicated to products designed specifically for the mascot bodied. Old Navy with the 36/32 waist pants that really hang somewhere around a 40/30? And the faux-vintage tees capable of doubling as refrigerator cozies? We see and appreciate you, Old Navy.
So next year, ESPN, consider adding one mascot-bodied sports figure for the large portion of America that, in the mirror nude, looks less like a work of Classical sculpture, and more like a Minecraft character. Consider, if you will, a figure who is both sensual but not intimidating, and who already sets the pace by forcing the world to confront his nudity every day. Take someone from the Heartland who understands both the joys of body acceptance and of high fructose corn syrup.
Put Big Red in the Body Issue, ESPN. After all, he’s been posing for it for years already.
Let Big Red pose. He’s like us: Unashamed, oddly shaped, and born ready for the camera.