So when ESPN the Mag releases its much-publicized Body Issue next month, there will be at least two D.C. connections.
* D.C.-area native Oguchi Onyewu is in the Bodies We Want section, featuring athletes in various sports who boast some of the best physiques.
* More importantly, six D.C. United players will be in the Skin Games section, featuring athletes acting somewhat humorously while in various states of undress
Talk about national exposure! Yeah.
Anyhow, the players involved included Ben Olsen, Chris Pontius, Santino Quaranta, Clyde Simms, Bryan Namoff and Jaime Moreno. It was one of the two largest group shots of the issue, and the mag's editor-in-chief specifically singled out the United fellows for praise.
"They were very, very brave," Gary Belsky said in a conference call Wednesday. "We asked them to kind of jump around in a way that was both appropriate and hilarious, and they were great, and they were very, very brave."
The idea of the issue, Belsky said, was "to look at the athletic form in a more focused way than we ever have before," since his magazine is "obsessed with the athletic body." There is real journalism about bodies, he said, but the issue is mostly image-driven. The media focus will be on the "Bodies We Want" bit, but there are also sections on wrecked body parts, athletic workouts, and the Skin Games thing, featuring "Athletes and sports with a sense of humor about the idea of taking their clothes off appropriately," Belsky said.
That's where United fit in. He said the magazine contacted specific teams rather than MLS, and that United's fine PR staff and high profile worked in the team's favor, as it were.
"I've got to tell you, soccer players, they're not embarrassed to show their bodies," he said. "They're just good sports. They were one of the first teams we called and they said yes, and we took yes for an answer."
They ticked off several million other athletes featured in this issue, but Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby weren't asked to participate. The Bodies We Want NHL'er is Zdeno Chara, and the Oilers handled the funny stuff. Which is just as well, because I sure don't want the job of asking various local athletes about getting naked. Reliable Source, your turn.