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Original Issue


A brief history of lapses in cover judgment

"The U.S. Open Texas Style"

June 9, 1969

Lee Trevino (nicknamed Super Mex) set a dubious precedent by dressing up as Pancho Villa.

Joe Gilliam, "Pittsburgh's Black Quarterback"

Sept. 23, 1974

That Gilliam wasn't the first (or only) black passer in the NFL seems beyond the point.

"The Champion That Nobody Cares About"

"Little Red on the Warpath"

Feb. 12, 1979

Long before anyone objected to a team named the Redskins, SI found nothing insensitive in putting boxer Danny Lopez, a Ute Indian, in a headdress.

Sept. 15, 1986

Among Ivan Lendl's flaws: a wooden demeanor, mechanical game. Know who cared about Lendl? The guys he beat for eight Grand Slam titles.

"Advantage, Kournikova"

"Kill the Umps"

Oct. 19, 1998

Officials across all sports (including the cover ump himself) cried foul over SI's Casey at the Bat reference. One letter writer's idea: Kill the editors.

June 5, 2000

Anna was just 18 and unproven as a tennis player when she was dolled up by SI. She never did prove herself on the court.

"Charles Unchained"

March 11, 2002

Barkley posed, so he's partly complicit—but that doesn't excuse a cover that drew fire for depicting Sir Charles in the context of slavery.


Dear________: We're sorry ...

PETA: In the 1950s we photographed a mongoose-cobra battle to the death, ran graphic features on cockfighting and bullfighting and glorified whale and polar bear hunting. In '69 we suggested that perhaps grizzly bears should be exterminated; in an '87 cover story we gave pit bulls a bad name. And a '90 Breeders' Cup story captured Go for Wand's gruesomely snapped foreleg while a vet administered lethal injection.

NAACP: A 1992 interview with former Athletics owner Charlie Finley included two uses of the n-word.

Womankind: Where to start? Let's begin with a gratuitous 1955 photo act of upward-blowing tennis skirts; a buttocks-focused '58 story, "Miss Cheesecake Joins the Dodgers"; this '75 headline: "There is Nothing Like a Dame;" and a '64 story on a stylish women's track team, which included the line, "We have a good-looking team—none of those bags. I prefer pretty girls. I insist they wear makeup."