ESPN is blurring the lines of their very premise for existence with their magazine's annual body issue. This is a dangerous precedent.
As they plan, publish and hype their nude magazine, the self-anointed worldwide leader in sports needs to remember their role. They are there to give the public information pertaining to sports.
And while the issue features athletes, the emphasis is clearly on sex and not sports.
The more emphasis they place on sex appeal, the harder it is to take them serious as a sports outlet. I turn to ESPN as a refuge from the flood of news, photos and information centered around looks.
As society becomes increasingly fixated on sex appeal, looks become the center of the media world. It is nice to know that there are places I can turn to like ESPN that abstain from this shameless attempt to capitalize on the nation's insatiable hunger for outer beauty.
I have enjoyed ESPN over the years because I know I can turn there and hear, see and read about sports without being lured back into topics that have nothing to do about sports.
It has been an uncluttered distraction filled with the purity of competition. Now that refuge is fading. "The Body Issue" will undoubtedly lead to big sales while broadening ESPN's audience, and it is going to be nearly impossible for ESPN to not expand this approach from one magazine to countless other Body Issue type magazines and TV shows.
How much longer before the top 10 plays starts to feature the sexiest moments of the sports day.
This is a slippery slope. And one I would prefer ESPN avoided all together.