J.J. Watt is busy preparing for his team’s showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
Not even his competitive focus under the postseason pressure cooker, thankfully, could keep the Houston Texans superstar from defending misogynistic media coverage of his significant other.
Kealia Ohai is one of the most decorated players in the history of the Houston Dash, Texas’ lone team in the National Women’s Soccer League. Selected with the second overall pick of the 2014 NWSL draft, she’s since been named team captain for three seasons running and set a franchise record for most goals scored in a single season.
Ohai has endeared herself to the Houston community, too. In February, she will serve as the Grand Marshal for the annual Downtown Rodeo Parade.
The 28-year-old also became Watt’s fianceé last May.
In a tweet announcing Ohai’s trade from the Dash to the Chicago Red Stars, though, ABC 13 Houston made nary a mention of her on-field accomplishments. The local broadcast affiliate didn’t even mention Ohai by name.
Instead, it described her as “JJ Watt’s fiancee” – and the Texans icon was not happy about it.
Watt was hardly the only one to take issue with ABC 13 erasing Ohai. Hundreds of social media users called out the headline, too.
As of publication, Watt’s tweet criticizing ABC 13 is approaching 200,000 likes, with no signs of slowing down.
This should not have been a difficult needle for ABC 13’s social media team to thread. Ohai is by far the most prominent member of the Dash; her trade from the team is newsworthy all by itself.
But even if ABC 13 deemed it necessary to describe her in the context of Watt, there was an easy, simple way to do it. Larry Hawley of Chicago’s WGN 9, for instance, didn’t mention Watt’s connection to Ohai until naming her first.
Ohai, to be clear, stands on her own in the sports world. One of the best players in the women’s professional soccer league isn’t defined by who she’s marrying.
Watt understands that better anyone. Here’s hoping his amplification of ABC 13’s casual sexism helps ensure other female athletes aren’t treated with similar disrespect in the future.
Don’t hold your breath with regard to ABC 13 learning from its mistake, though. The Houston affiliate, unbelievably, still hasn’t deleted or updated the tweet in question.
This article was edited by Gerelyn Terzo.
Last modified: January 22, 2020 11:39 PM