The Most Controversial Magazine Covers In Sports History

amanda beard

Photo: Playboy

ESPN The Magazine worked the sports blogosphere into a frenzy last week with its all-Boston issue.While covers dealing with race, sex, and religion typically ignite outrage, it’s interesting than a regional theme would invite such vitriol.

We went back through the years and found sports’ most controversial magazine covers too see what else got people fired up.

SI invited a host of future controversies when it debuted the Swimsuit Issue (January 20, 1964)

Muhammad Ali depicted on a martyr on Esquire irked Christians (April 1968)

SI used the angriest dog picture it could find for a cover story on dog fighting (July 27, 1987)

This headline felt more New York Post than Sports Illustrated (March 14, 1988)

Dennis Rodman used Sports Illustrated to solidify his freak status (May 29, 1995)

Sports Illustrated took a bold stance against the University of Miami (June 12, 1995)

This SI cover of muscle-clad McGwire and Sosa looks bad in retrospect (Dec. 21, 1998)

ESPN The Magazine was going for shock value by putting Ricky Williams in a dress (August 9, 1999)

SI depicted Charles Barkley as a slave to accompany a feature about race (March 11, 2002)

This first topless cover had people asking if you really need swimsuits for a Swimsuit Issue (Feb. 10, 2004)

U.S. swimming star Amanda Beard got people in a tizzy by posing for Playboy (July 2007)

Vogue's LeBron/Gisele cover had racially insensitive undertones (April 2008)

Serena Williams went fully nude for ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue (October 2009)

Vanity Fair used a four-year-old photo to depict post-scandal Tiger Woods (February 2010)

Many felt that SI objectified Lindsey Vonn with her bending over on this cover (February 8, 2010)

ESPN The Magazine published an All-Boston issue last week (Sept. 20, 2011)

Now see what goes on a typical sports magazine cover

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