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Sports Illustrated leaves Colin Kaepernick off cover featuring protesting athletes, supporters

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Sports Illustrated dedicated its Oct. 2 magazine cover to athletes supporting protests during the national anthem, but one athlete was conspicuously left off — the man who started the the trend: Colin Kaepernick.

What happened?

Featured on the cover included Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James.

The cover headline says, "A nation divided. Sports united." but Kaepernick — who ushered in the NFL protests for racial inequality and social injustice during the 2016 football season — was absent from the cover altogether.

Critical response

Curry, who is featured at the center of the magazine's cover, spoke out on Wednesday and called the cover "terrible."

"That was terrible," Curry told reporters. "It’s just kind of capitalizing on the hoopla and the media and all that nonsense. The real people that understand exactly what’s been going on, and who’s really been active and vocal and truly making a difference, if you don’t have Kaepernick front and center on that, something’s wrong."

Sports Illustrated's response

According to Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle, Sports Illustrated’s executive editor, Steve Cannella, explained that Kaepernick had been excluded from the cover because the magazine wanted to focus instead on "the news of the weekend," referring to the weekend protests that saw more than 200 NFL players and supporters kneeling at games, and wanted to promote "unity."

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