Is This Meme Body-Shaming Eli Manning?

Hayley FitzPatrick

Despite being a two-time Super Bowl champion and MVP, and the first New York Giants player to be named a co-winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, Eli Manning gets his fair share of social media hate — and that includes being body-shamed.

Following up on the New England Patriots Super Bowl win, popular Instagram account F**k Jerry posted a picture of Manning with the words, “still the only man to beat brady in the superbowl.” The meme, which features the 36-year-old NFL quarterback in a bathing suit on the beach, references the two Super Bowl victories Manning holds against Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Bless his soul. He's a beautiful man. (@weatherford5)

A photo posted by Elliot Tebele (@fuckjerry) on Feb 6, 2017 at 2:11pm PST

The comedian captioned the meme, “Bless his soul. He’s a beautiful man.” The image, which clearly mocks the quarterback’s body, was met with mixed reactions from social media users. Some commented on his ‘dad bod,’ while others praised Manning — reminding Patriots fans he’s beaten them twice. Others mocked Giants fans for holding on to past Super Bowl wins, reminding users Brady now holds a record five Super Bowl rings. Many found it hilarious, tagging their friends in it.

Although the meme is obviously in jest, Manning isn’t the only NFL player who has faced jokes about his body. Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Culter faced similar criticism last month when his wife, Kristin Cavallari, posted a picture of the pair on vacation.

Cavallari captioned the image, “I had the best birthday of my life and it was all thanks to this guy. Not only did he plan a huge surprise party, he planned a ‘surprise’ trip to Mexico with some of my closest friends, too. Thanks, babe….you will probably never see this.”

In the comments section, many users referred the quarterback — who is recovering from a season-ending shoulder injury — as a “fat lesbian.” “So glad I trolled back to see the 300 lb lesbian.. Lmao!! It’s true,” one user commented. Other comments included, “Jay looks a tad out of shape someone needs to hit up a Equinox in a city near you” and “Can’t play football and can’t keep in shape. Flabby.”

Cavallari hit back at the hate from the critics soon after, posting a follow-up image.

“And since Jay looked like a 300lb lesbian in my last post, I felt I should do him justice by posting him looking hot AF in this one,” she captioned the image.

While Cutler and Manning are two players in the NFL with incredibly different skill sets, it’s clear that professional athletes are not immune to the body shaming of countless social media critics.

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