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.
— ESPN The Magazine (@ESPNMag) July 8, 2014
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.
— Dan Simpson (@DSimpson88) July 8, 2014
— Twelve (@1218Tweets) July 8, 2014
My eyes! My eyes! #PrinceFielder
— Candace (@CandacePParker) July 8, 2014
How am I going to explain Prince Fielder's Body Issue cover to my children
— Matt Collins (@RedSox_Thoughts) July 8, 2014
— Adam J. Brown (@AjayB123) July 8, 2014
— Phil Otto (@philotto23) July 8, 2014
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.
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.
Why is everyone so freaked out about #PrinceFielder's naked ESPN shoot? That's nothing compared to what I see every day in the mirror!
— Matt Collins (@MattC1043) July 8, 2014
— Jennifer Mercedes (@Chica_Deportes) July 8, 2014
Society Lesson of the Day: When it's a +sized woman it's called "fat shaming" but when it's a male's weight it's fair game? #PrinceFielder
— Ryan Russell (@RyanWPRussell) July 8, 2014
— Giselle Phelps (@GisellePhelps) July 8, 2014
Follow ESPN on Twitter to see all of the 2014 Body Issue covers.