While largely well-received in America, a particular ESPN The Magazine photo shoot is drawing criticism overseas.
After appearing in a photo spread for the “Body Issue,” Polish tennis star Agnieszka Radwanska has been dropped as spokesperson by a Catholic group in her home country.
Krucjata Mlodych (Youth Crusade) is not happy with Radwanska’s decision to go nude for the magazine, and according to Sports Illustrated's Ryan Glasspiegel, has relieved the No. 4 women's tennis player in the world of her duties as an advocate for the organization.
While not explicit, the nude has proven too much for [Youth Crusade], which runs a campaign with the slogan “I’m not ashamed of Jesus.” The young Catholics, who claim more than a million followers, dropped the 24-year-old tennis star last week for what they said was “immoral behavior” in the ESPN spread.
The image that has the group miffed is the shot of the 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist poolside, clutching tennis balls in a carefully positioned shot. As stated, nothing explicit is showing, but in a country where 90 percent of the population identifies as Catholic, the image caused enough of an uproar.
Here is one of the spots Radwanska shot for the Youth Crusade:
The group released an announcement on its website explaining its decision to distance itself from Radwanska. "Personally I am very sorry that someone declaring herself to be on the side of Jesus has at the same time played up to the mentality of those who treat people as just a thing to be looked at," Father Marek Dziewiecki said in the group’s official statement.
Others have taken to Twitter to stand up for Radwanska, including Ryszard Czarnecki, a conservative Polish politician and member of the European Parliament.
"[She is] a pretty girl—slim and efficient," Czarnecki wrote. "And you, are you jealous?"
No word yet on whether Radwanska plans on publicly addressing her dismissal, but it’s official: The Youth Crusade has spoken, and the power of the female body is being demonstrated before our very eyes.
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