Sports Illustrated cover features protesting athletes: 'A nation divided, sports united'

Sports Illustrated's latest cover features 10 top figures from the sports world linking arms above the headline "A nation divided, sports united."

The magazine's Oct. 2 edition focuses on political protests across the sports world, which reached a fever pitch over the weekend after President Trump lobbed attacks at NFL players who kneel during the national anthem.

The cover features NBA stars LeBron James and Stephen Curry, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL team owner Shahid Khan, WNBA player Candace Parker and other athletes who have spoken up about politics.

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Trump on Friday attacked NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who began kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality, police brutality and the criminal justice system. The president called for NFL teams to fire players who protested.


In the wake of Trump's statements, hundreds of NFL players kneeled before games over the weekend, and the NFL and most team owners put out statements backing players' right to peacefully protest. 

Other stars of pop culture spoke up as well, with Stevie Wonder taking a knee at a Saturday appearance in New York, and the cast of "Star Trek: Discovery" posting a photo of themselves kneeling on social media.

Lawmakers and others have criticized Trump’s timing of the NFL attacks because Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are still reeling from hurricane damage. The White House defended his words at a Monday press conference, saying that he is “not emphasizing sports” over relief for hurricane victims.