The annual issue of ESPN The Magazine’s The Body Issue is one that usually gets a lot of attention, and the fact that it features professional athletes sans clothes is perhaps what does it. It’s also what got tennis player Agnieszka Radwanska dropped by a religious group in home country Poland.Agnieszka is just one of the many athletes, male and female, who agreed to do a no-holds-barred type of photospread with this year’s magazine, which also includes an interview.
All the photos are artsy – so don’t go thinking Playboy for athletes – but that wasn’t enough for a Catholic youth group with whom she was associated, ESPN reports.
“A Polish Catholic group known as Krucjata Mlodych, or Youth Crusade, said it was severing its relationship with the 24-year-old Polish native for what it said was ‘immoral behavior’ in the ESPN spread,” notes the publication.
“Radwanska, a devout Catholic, had previously urged young Poles to assert pride in their faith in television ads for the group in which she spelled out the word ‘Jesus’ with tennis balls,” it adds.
As such, seeing her in The Body Issue would equal sending a mixed message, even though she isn’t actually revealing anything in the shots.
Agnieszka has refused to comment on the group’s announcement but, in response to the controversy, ESPN The Magazine Editor-in-Chief Chad Millman says that all those who agreed to pose for the mag are “proud of the work they put into being strong and powerful and we're proud that they trust us to capture that.”
One professional athlete we won’t be seeing in the much hyped magazine anytime soon is race car driver Danica Patrick who, as we also reported a while back, said that she felt such a spread would be “pushing the boundaries a bit.”
Patrick too has done other revealing spreads but, as she put it herself, only in swimsuits.