BLACK VOICES
07/09/2014 09:37 am ET Updated Jul 09, 2014

Twitter Rallies Against Critics Body Shaming Prince Fielder's ESPN Cover

As if he isn't already impressive enough on the field, Prince Fielder has made another bold move.

The 30-year-old Texas Rangers MLB star, who is featured in ESPN's 2014 Body Issue, bears his brawny build in a nude power stance for his cover.

It's a daring photograph, equal parts bold and badass. But however refreshing it may be, the release of the cover image was met with a flurry of insulting jokes on Twitter.

Considering the fact that professional athletes are paid and admired for their extraordinary and unique physiques, body shaming Fielder seems ridiculous. But the trend has had roots in the sports world for years.

Venus Williams -- also featured as one of this year’s ESPN Body issue covers -- and her sister Serena, two of the world’s most celebrated tennis players, have both spoken up about learning to love their strong, curvy figures only later in life. Even when Rolling Stone compared Serena's body to a monster truck.

Tennis prodigy Taylor Townsend has also endured her share of unmerited body shaming, but refused to be told that her body is anything less than a "total gift."

Townsend and the Williams sisters are not alone in condemning the shaming of black athletes' bodies, and championing celebration them. Some Twitter users fired back at the Prince Fielder memes and punchlines with an inspiring wave of support.

Follow ESPN on Twitter to see all of the 2014 Body Issue covers.

PHOTO GALLERIES
2014 ESPN Body Issue
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