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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:

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American Pharoah
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SI readers mad horse wasn't named 'Sportsperson Of The Year'
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)
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)
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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:

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Venus vs. Serena Williams through the years
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SI readers mad horse wasn't named 'Sportsperson Of The Year'
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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The post SI Readers Mad Horse Wasn't Named "Sportsperson Of The Year" appeared first on Vocativ.

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