SI readers mad horse wasn't named 'Sportsperson Of The Year'

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Should a Horse Really Beat Serena Williams for Sports 'Person' of the Year?

It's the end of the year, which means magazines, newspapers and online publications are recapping 2015 with top 10 lists and best-of-the-year awards. It never fails that one of these fairly innocuous pieces provokes an over-heated reader debate, and Sports Illustrated's "Sportsperson of the Year" award announcement has taken the pole position for most ridiculous response.

On Monday morning, SI gave the award to Serena Williams, a person, who in 2015 went 78-4 en route to winning three Grand Slam titles. She narrowly missed winning the calendar Grand Slam, and did so at 34, well beyond the age when most tennis players are put out to pasture, which for a tennis star usually involves giving lessons to younger players, doing media appearances or endorsing brands. Serena Williams, like all sportspersons, is a person.

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SI also had a fan vote for Sportsperson of the Year, where American Pharoah, a horse, received 47 percent of the vote to Serena's 1 percent. In 2015, American Pharoah was whipped into turning left the fastest at three distinct times and places that have been deemed by the horse racing establishment to be more important than the other times and places that horses are whipped into turning left the fastest. Had American Pharoah stumbled and broken his leg, he would have been put out pasture, which for a race horse means killed on the spot and eventually made into glue. American Pharoah, again, is a horse.

Look back at American Pharoah's accomplishments:

21 PHOTOS
American Pharoah
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SI readers mad horse wasn't named 'Sportsperson Of The Year'
Jockey Victor Espinoza celebrates aboard American Pharoah after winning the 140th Preakness Stakes horse race at Pimlico Race Course, Saturday, May 16, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
American Pharoah, ridden by Victor Espinoza, wins the 140th Preakness Stakes horse race at Pimlico Race Course, Saturday, May 16, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert rubs the face of American Pharoah as the Preakness-winning colt gets a bath outside the stakes barn Sunday, May 17, 2015, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)
Jockey Victor Espinoza pats American Pharoah after winning the $750,000 Rebel Stakes horse race at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., Saturday, March 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
Preakness Stakes winner American Pharoah stops his morning walk to check out the crowd around the stakes barn, Sunday, May 17, 2015 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)
American Pharoah and jockey Victor Espinoza (6) run down the stretch to win the $1 million Arkansas Derby horse race at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., Saturday, April 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
American Pharoah, ridden by Victor Espinoza, center, wins the 140th Preakness Stakes horse race at Pimlico Race Course, Saturday, May 16, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Triple Crown hopeful American Pharoah, ridden by jockey Martin Garcia, powers through his final timed workout in a steady, light rain at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Monday, June 1, 2015. The Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner will head to New York for Saturday's Belmont Stakes on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 02: American Pharoah #18, ridden by Victor Espinoza, crosses the finish line to win the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 2, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Groom Eduardo Garcia, left, washes Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah after a morning gallop at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Monday, May 11, 2015, while Juan Rameriez, right, holds the colt. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)
Exercise rider Jorge Alvarez gallops Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Monday, May 11, 2015. The colt is preparing for a start in the 140th Preakness Stakes in Baltimore on May 16. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)
Victor Espinoza rides American Pharoah to victory in the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 2, 2015, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Exercise rider Jorge Alvarez rides Kentucky Derby hopeful American Pharoah during a workout at Churchill Downs Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Victor Espinoza rides American Pharoah to victory in the141st running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 2, 2015, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 13: Trainer Bob Baffert walks Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah in the barn after arriving in preparation for the 140th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 13, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 15: Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah trains on the track for the 140th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 15, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 15: American Pharoah is bathed at the barn after training for the 140th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 15, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
American Pharoah and jockey Victor Espinoza (4) win the $750,000 Rebel Stakes horse race at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., Saturday, March 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
Exercise rider George Alverez gallops Kentucky Derby hopeful American Pharaoh over the track at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Saturday, April 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)
Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah watches activity outside Barn 33 after a morning jog at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Thursday, May 7, 2015. American Pharoah is continuing his training at Churchill Downs before going to Baltimore for next weekend's Preakness Stakes horse race. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)
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After the announcement on Monday that Williams won the award, horse racing enthusiasts and American Pharoah loyalists went nothing short of bananas over the "snub," with the horse's human owner Ahmed Zayat leading the way:

Furious readers bombarded SI's Facebook post about the award with angry messages. Many said they planned to cancel their subscriptions to the magazine as a result. With SI changing the award from "Sportsman" to "Sportsperson" this year, some alluded to a possible conspiracy against the horse:

"YOU SUCK SPORTS ILLUSTRATED!!! why have a fan vote if you're going to pick for yourselves anyway?! Changed it to 'sportsPERSON' you should be ashamed of yourselves!!! Many people have done, will do, and will do better than Serena!! Been almost 40 years since there was a horse of this caliber, no telling how long it will be before there is another!! Let's put a true athlete on the cover, one that DOES NOT need to be photoshopped at that!! Your agenda is showing!!!" one reader (maybe a horse) remarked.

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Another reader believed that American Pharoah's intangible qualities merited the award:

"Shame on you for taking the vote away from the people and American Pharoah, who has shown, along with his connections more class than anyone in your contest." Nothing says class like sneezing on everyone you meet and shitting where ever you damn well please!

At itppp3s worst, the Williams vs. Pharoah debate devolved into racism and misogyny, as readers attempted to turn the alleged omission into yet another culture war football. The photo on the cover of the "sportsperson" issue shows Serena with her legs bare. The combination of the photo and the Pharoah snub prompted one commenter to suggest that The End is Neigh (pun intended):

"Disgusting photo, is this Playboy ...and you have her sitting on a gold throne???! She gets a big fat ZERO for sportsmanship. What a joke. Nice going Sports Illustrated, way to set an example for our youth. No wonder this country is such a mess. A rebellious nation thumbing it's nose at God in every arena! #nowtheendbegins"

American Pharaoh, a horse, has yet to issue a statement.

Related: See Venus and Serena Williams facing off through the years:

37 PHOTOS
Venus vs. Serena Williams through the years
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SI readers mad horse wasn't named 'Sportsperson Of The Year'
Venus Williams, left, and sister Serena raise their arms after their center court match at the Australian Open Tennis Championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, January 21, 1998. Venus won the match 7-6, 6-1. (AP Photo/Rick Stevens)
American Venus Williams, left, and sister Serena of Palm Beach Gardens, Fl., confer during a women's doubles match against Erika DeLone and Liezel Horn at the Australian Open Tennis Championships in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, January 22, 1998. Williams won 6-4, 6-2. (AP Photo/Steve Holland)
Serena Williams of the USA lifts up the winners cup after her final match vs. sister Venus Williams at the International Tennis Grand Slam Cup in Munich s Olympic hall, Sunday, October 3, 1999. Serena defeated her sister 6-1, 3-6, 6-4. (AP Photo/Uwe Lein)
Venus Williams, left, watches her sister Serena during the winners ceremony after their final match at the International Tennis Grand Slam Cup in Munich's Olympic hall, Sunday, October 3, 1999. Serena defeated her sister Venus 6-1,3-6, 6-4. (AP Photo/Uwe Lein)
Venus Williams, of Palm Beach Ggardens, Fla., reaches for a return to her sister, Serena, during their women's singles semifinal match at Wimbledon, Thursday July 6, 2000. Venus won 6-4, 7-6 (7-3). (AP Photo/Adam Butler, Pool)
Serena Williams, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., returns to her sister, Venus, during their semi-final match on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, Thursday July 6, 2000. (AP Photo/Dave Caulkin)
Venus Williams, left, reaches to shake the hand of her sister, Serena, after Venus won their semifinal match at Wimbledon Thursday July 6, 2000. Venus won 6-4, 7-6 (3). (AP Photo/Jytte Nielsen)
Venus Williams, right, poses with the women's singles championship trophy as her sister, Serena, applauds during the trophy ceremony after Venus defeated Serena in the womens singles final at the U.S. Oopen in New York Saturday Sept. 8, 2001. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Serena Williams makes a return against her sister, Venus, during the women's final at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York Saturday Sept. 7, 2002. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
Serena Williams, right, holds up her trophy after defeating sister Venus Williams, left, 6-4, 6-3 in the women's final at the US Open Saturday, Sept. 7, 2002 in New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Venus Williams attempts a return to her sister Serena during the Women's Singles final on the Centre Court, at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, Saturday July 5, 2003. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
Serena, left, and Venus Williams congratulate each other, after defeating Alicia Molik and Samantha Stosur of Austria, in their Women's Doubles, second round match, on the seventh day of the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, Monday June 30, 2003.(AP Photo/Sang Tan)
Venus Williams of the United States, facing camera, celebrates with her sister Serena after their women's doubles final victory by 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 against Paola Suarez from Argentina and Virginia Ruano Pascual from Spain at the Australian Open Tennis Tournament in Melbourne, Friday, Jan. 24, 2003. (AP Photo/Rick Stevens)
Venus, left, and her sister Serena Williams of the United States wave to the crowd after winning the women's doubles final against Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain and Paola Suarez of Argentina at the Australian Open Tennis Tournament in Melbourne, Friday, Jan. 24, 2003. The Williams sister won the match 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. (AP Photo/Mike Fiala)
Venus Williams, left, walks away after winning a point as Serena Williams reacts in the background during their match at the US Open tennis tournament in New York, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2005. Venus Williams won, 7-6 (5), 6-2. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
Serena Williams, of the United States, reacts during her match against Venus Williams, of the United States, at the US Open tennis tournament in New York, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2005. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Serena Williams, of the United States, returns to Venus Williams, of the United States, at the US Open tennis tournament in New York, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2005. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Venus Williams of the United States, right, goes to put her arm around her sister, Serena Williams of the United States, at the conclusion of their match at the US Open tennis tournament in New York, Sunday Sept. 4, 2005. Venus Williams won 7-6 (5), 6-2. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
U.S. Venus Williams celebrates after she beats her sister Serena Williams 5-7, 6-1, 6-0 during the third day of Sony Ericsson WTA Tennis Championship in Doha, Qatar, Thursday Nov. 6, 2008. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Venus Williams, left, and her sister Serena from the USA are seen during their first round double match against Daniela Hantuchova from Slovakia and Agnes Szavay from Hungary at the Porsche Grand Prix tennis tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, Monday, Sept. 29, 2008. (AP Photo/Thomas Kienzle)
Serena Williams, left, and her sister Venus from the USA are seen during their first round double match against Daniela Hantuchova from Slovakia and Agnes Szavay from Hungary at the Porsche Grand Prix tennis tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, Monday, Sept. 29, 2008. (AP Photo/Thomas Kienzle)
Venus Williams of the U.S. in action in the women's singles final against her sister Serena on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, Saturday, July 5 , 2008. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
Serena Williams returns to her sister Venus, during the Women's Singles final on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, Saturday, July 5, 2008. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Venus Williams of the US in action in the women's singles final against her sister Serena on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, Saturday, July 5 , 2008. (AP Photo/Glyn Kirk,pool)
Venus Williams embraces her sister Serena, after defeating her to win the Women's Singles Championship on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, Saturday, July 5, 2008. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Venus Williams of the US reacts after winning the women's singles final against her sister Serena on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, Saturday, July 5 , 2008. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
Serena Williams holds her head during the Women's Singles final against her sister Venus on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, Saturday, July 5, 2008. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Venus Williams of the United States returns to Serena Williams of the United States during their singles final at the WTA Tennis Championships, in Doha, Qatar Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Serena Williams of the United States reacts during her singles match against sister Venus Williams of the United States at the WTA Tennis Championships, in Doha, Qatar Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Serena Williams of the United States, left, shakes hands with her sister Venus Williams of the United States, right, after Serena won their singles match at the WTA Tennis Championships, in Doha, Qatar Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Serena Williams hits a forehand shot during a semifinal match against her sister Venus Williams at the Family Circle Cup tennis tournament in Charleston, S.C., Saturday, April 6, 2013. Serena won 6-1, 6-2. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)
Venus Williams hits a forehand shot during a semifinal match against her sister Serena Williams at the Family Circle Cup tennis tournament in Charleston, S.C., Saturday, April 6, 2013. Serena won 6-1, 6-2. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 06: Serena Williams of the United States serves in her Ladies' Singles Fourth Round match against Venus Williams of the United States during day seven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 6, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 06: Venus Williams of the United States plays a forehand in her Ladies' Singles Fourth Round match against Serena Williams of the United States during day seven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 6, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 06: Serena Williams of the United States serves in her Ladies' Singles Fourth Round match against Venus Williams of the United States during day seven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 6, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 06: Serena Williams of the United States hugs Venus Williams of the United States after their Ladies' Singles Fourth Round match during day seven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 6, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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