ESPN The Magazine's "Body Issue" has become more than just an issue. It has become a way for athletes to market themselves and put their names out there.
But sometimes an athlete's reputation can be jeopardized in favor of marketability. Sometimes a photo builds a perception inside a reader's mind, and by the time they find out who you truly are, they've already miscast you as some immature, egotistical everything-that's-wrong-with-pro-sports freak of nature.
Or something like that.
I want to make it clear that I have no problem with any of these athletes posing, and the players I will list I actually like a great deal.
But in reality, there are some people out there who make snapshot judgments. Here are the players in danger of being miscast after appearing in the 2013 Body Issue by ESPN The Magazine.
John Wall, PG, Washington Wizards
At this point, there appears to be no question that appearing in the Body Issue will boost your marketability.
But when you are seeking a max contract, like Washington Wizards point guard John Wall is this summer, posing nude in a magazine can raise questions.
Heck, Jason Reid of the Washington Post wrote a column back in June wondering if Wall was worth a max contract because he had gotten tattoos. As ludicrous as the column was (which has since garnered epic levels of criticism), it does bring up an important point: There are some people who judge a book by its cover.
Wall didn't just pose nude in the Body Issue. A couple of his photos, including one in particular, displayed a certain level of goofiness that the more conservative may not like.
The 22-year-old can only hope the Wizards aren't very conservative, including with their money.
Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers
Colin Kaepernick wasn't everybody's hero in his marvelous campaign last season with the San Francisco 49ers.
While he guided the 49ers to the Super Bowl (which included rushing for a quarterback-record 181 yards against the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs), some weren't very happy with his antics when he scored. If you haven't heard by now, Kaepernick thought up a touchdown celebration that involved kissing his biceps when he scored.
It's nothing new for the NFL, or practically any sport for that matter, but it does rub some people the wrong way. Add in his tattoos and his posing nude for the Body Issue, and he may actually turn some people off.
Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers
We all remember when Vernon Davis was flagged for a personal foul against the Seattle Seahawks back in October 2008 and was promptly sent to the showers by then-head coach Mike Singletary. We also remember that Singletary blew up in a tirade directed toward Davis in the postgame presser.
Many 49ers fans actually look at that moment as one of the few bright spots in Singletary's stint with the team. It exposed a player who surely had a big ego and wasn't very mature at the time. Davis has gone on to do big things since then and has credited Singletary for helping him become more of a leader.
But, I have to say, posing nude and holding a bunch of footballs in front of your groin while looking like a kid who just got what he wanted for Christmas doesn't exactly scream maturity.
Those who know Davis well are aware that he has indeed become a leader and a mature player, but for those outsiders, Davis may as well be the same player sent to the showers in 2008, judging by the picture. It just sends the wrong signal.