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Prince Fielder of the Texas Rangers recently appeared in the nude on the cover of ESPN’s Body Issue, which is dedicated to showing how athletes can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Yahoo! Sports reports that ESPN usually displays different body types in each yearly installment of the Body Issue, with previous issues featuring 77-year-old golfer Gary Player and Kerri Walsh Jennings, who was eight-months pregnant at the time. Fielder’s appearance in the magazine, however, caused more of a stir than usual due to his 275-pound frame.
ESPN notes that Fielder (pictured above with Phillies' first baseman Ryan Howard and President Barack Obama) defended his body shape and reflected on the the public conception of what it means to have an “athletic” body.
"You don’t have to look like an Under Armour mannequin to be an athlete,” Fielder stated. “A lot of people probably think I’m not athletic or don’t even try to work out or whatever, but I do. Just because you’re big doesn’t mean you can’t be an athlete. And just because you work out doesn’t mean you’re going to have a 12-pack. I work out to make sure I can do my job to the best of my ability. Other than that, I’m not going up there trying to be a fitness model."
Yahoo! Sports also notes that Fielder is one of the top baseball players at the moment, and is under contract with the Rangers for $24 million annually until 2020. The Wrap also mentioned that Fielder is a five time all-star.
Unfortunately, despite ESPN’s insistence that the issue is meant to be a “celebration of athletes’ amazing bodies” and a place to "stop to admire the vast potential of the human form," Fielder came under heavy scorn from superficial social media posts.
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) July 8, 2014
Image via Twitter from Barstool Sports
image courtesy of INFphoto.com