Serena Williams won Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year. I’m not sure what to say. I’ve already mentioned some of these things before, but they are worth repeating.
I should say, first off, of all the bad picks, this was probably the least bad. Serena had a great year in a great career. Call it a lifetime achievement award, I guess. That’s the only way it makes any kind of sense.
However, as I wrote in September:
Stephie Graf won the Grand Slam in 1988 — then won three of four in 1989 — and yet SI did not reward her in either of those years.
Winning Grand Slam tennis events isn’t as difficult as winning major golf tournaments. There was a six year period (1988-1993) when a woman won three or four Grand Slam events in five of those year. Three modern-era women have completed the Slam (1953, 1970, 1988).
So why [should] Serena get Sportsperson of the Year and not Stephie Graf in 1988?
In July, I wrote:
Notice that Tiger Woods won it in 1996 at age 20. His two biggest wins? The US Amateur and the NCAA Championship. He also won two weak pro events. A nice year, sure, but Sportsman of the Year?
Now, here we have Jordan Spieth, age 21, who won the Masters, the U.S. Open, lost the British Open by one stroke, and won two other PGA Tour events. And it’s only July.
Since then, Jordan didn’t exactly fall off a cliff, either. He won the Tour Championship to claim the FedEx Cup. He also finished second at the PGA Championship.
Here’s what SI wrote in their opening:
This was no ordinary year in sports, in which Sports Moments™ were produced in bulk, from the first Triple Crown in 37 years (American Pharoah) to the first U.S. hat trick in Women’s World Cup history (Carli Lloyd) to the first 24–0 start in NBA history, which came on the heels of an NBA title (Steph Curry’s Warriors). The longest-tenured SI staffers could not recall a year so deep in candidates who in several other years might have been considered the obvious Sportsperson recipient.
Wow, they didn’t even mention Jordan Spieth.
Didn’t even mention him.
Jordan Spieth put together a year that made Tiger Woods’s Sportsman of the Year award in 1996 look like a drunken round of Putt-Putt, and they didn’t even mention Jordan.
Didn’t. Even. Mention. Him.
Is Sports Illustrated even a sports magazine any more? This sounds like something you’d read in the Huffington Post:
But we are honoring Serena Williams too for reasons that hang in the grayer, less comfortable ether, where issues such as race and femininity collide with the games.
She was a difference-maker in other areas, speaking out against bodyshamers in both words and actions.
Bodyshamers? Is PC Principal editing Sports Illustrated now?