Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles has called out ESPN’s SportsCenter for the lack of female representation in an image highlighting the greatest athletes of all time.
In a now-deleted tweet, the sports news program posted an illustration featuring legendary male athletes such as Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, Tom Brady, Muhammad Ali, and Tiger Woods, writing: ‘So many GOATs, who’s yours?’
The artist, who is known as @dayxsleep on Instagram, depicted the sports stars crowded together in a stadium with actual goats, but critics — including Biles — were quick to note the image was missing women.
Missing some people? Simone Biles, 23, called out ESPN’s SportsCenter for posting a male-dominated photo highlighting the greatest athletes of all time
Controversy: In a now-deleted tweet, SportsCenter posted an illustration featuring legendary male athletes such as Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, and Tom Brady, calling them ‘GOATs’
Hitting back: Biles tweeted that she could think of ‘so many women’ who belong in the controversial photo ‘yet there are none’
‘There are so many women I can think of that belong in this photo yet there are none,’ the 23-year-old tweeted on Sunday, and she wasn’t the only one who was outraged.
Lone woman: Serena Williams features as the only woman in the photo – and is positioned at the back of the group and off to the side
‘How y’all gonna include actual goats and not include women???? Y’all really don’t care do you??? one person commented.
‘This just shows that our world is broken when it leaves out obvious people who deserve to be included (women),’ another responded.
‘If not for some female athletes the sports world would be broken and full of overpaid [showmen] who don’t love what they do but what they make.’
The backlash led SportsCenter to delete the controversial tweet.
Biles is the most decorated American gymnast with 30 Olympic and world championship medals, 23 of which are gold.
Fans argued that she is one of many female athletes who deserved to be included in the image.
GOAT: Biles is the most decorated American gymnast with 30 Olympic and world championship medals, 23 of which are gold
Backlash: Critics called out SportsCenter for the post, and many of Biles’s fans said she should have been included. One person even superimposed the gymnast onto the image
One Twitter user went as far as superimposing Biles onto the illustration, writing: ‘Fixed it for ya since y’all forgot the most decorated gymnast of all time.
Some pointed out that tennis champion Serena Williams can be seen in the back row on the right side of the image, but only her head is visible.
Williams may have been included as an afterthought, as she does not appear in an alternate version of the drawing that the artist shared on Instagram a few days ago.
‘The fact that there are people trying to justify it by saying that Serena is in there…if one woman hiding in the far corner, barely noticeable, is enough for you then that itself says a lot about you,’ one woman commented.
The Today show reached out to Biles about her tweet and asked her which female athletes she would have liked to see in the drawing.
Not right: Some pointed out that Serena Williams appears in the back of the photo, but many argued that the drawing was still problematic
While she humbling left herself out, the gymnast said that in addition to Williams, she would have included Katie Ledecky, Alex Morgan, Sue Bird, Simone Manuel, Allyson Felix, Lindsey Vonn, and Megan Rapinoe.
Biles’s ‘Fierce Five’ teammate Aly Raisman, 26, also weighed in on the controversy when she made a virtual appearance on the Today show Wednesday
‘It’s disappointing. You know representation matters, and young girls and women in sports matter,’ the retired gymnast said.
‘There are so many incredible women that should be in that photo, and it’s really important that people start recognizing that girls can be amazing athletes just like boys.’
ESPN told Today that it was a mistake to post the male-dominated image of GOATs and that is why it was removed.
Naming names: Biles made a list of some of the female athletes she would have liked to seen in the drawing, including Allyson Felix (left) and Simone Manuel (right)
Plenty to choose from: Biles also named Sue Bird (left) and Alex Morgan (right)
The controversy comes just over a week after tennis star Serena’s fans voiced fury over Tom Brady being named as the ‘greatest athlete of all time’ in the wake of his seventh Super Bowl win.
NFL star Tom, 43, and tennis champion Serena, 39, were dragged into a heated debate about who is truly worthy of GOAT status after the quarterback helped lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Former NFL player Donté Stallworth started the argument shortly after the Buccs won the Super Bowl, when he pointed out that Brady now has more championship rings than NBA legend Michael Jordan, thus making him the greatest athlete.
‘So Jordan has 6 rings, and Brady has 7 rings. Is it now safe to say that Brady is the GOAT of all GOATS?’ he tweeted.
‘Tom Brady is the greatest player in any sport in the history of sports,’ someone else agreed. ‘We never seen anything like it and never will again. 7 Super Bowls is equivalent to 14 nba rings.’
‘It’s disappointing’: Biles’s ‘Fierce Five’ teammate Aly Raisman, 26, also weighed in on the controversy on the Today show Wednesday
Listen up: Raisman (pictured at the 2016 Rio Olympics) stressed that ‘young girls and women in sports matter’
However, other sports fans found the declaration to be laughable when reflecting on the successes of other athletes, particularly Williams.
A number of fans pointed out that the tennis star has a whopping 23 Grand Slam titles under belt — winning her last in 2017 when she was pregnant with her now three-year-old daughter, Olympia.
‘Don’t get it mixed up. Serena Williams has 23 grand slams, four Olympic gold medals, and cleared one of those titles while pregnant at the Australian Open. She is the GOAT of GOATS,’ one person wrote.
‘Not y’all tryna put Tom Brady in GOAT contention when Serena won one of her 23 singles Grand Slams *WHILE PREGNANT* lmaooooooo,’ someone else tweeted.
Another commented: ‘Serena Williams: 23 Grand Slam singles titles, 73 career singles titles. This doesn’t include what she won in doubles with Venus.’