On Tuesday, Bari Weiss’ publication, The Free Press, published an article from Ethan Strauss about twins Haley and Hanna Cavinder, the wildly popular college basketball players for Miami. To say it was controversial would be putting things mildly.
Strauss spent time with the women and interviewed them for the article. The piece’s thesis was that the twins were an example of everything wrong with NIL in women’s sports, and that they’ve earned their money solely because of their looks. In response, they took to social media to blast Strauss and the article he produced.
Hanna Cavinder posted to Twitter that they were mislead about the premise of the article and only agreed to do it because of the proposed idea.
Here’s what she said, and we assume she was speaking on behalf of her sister as well:
The interview for this article was obtained by a false pretense that it would be written about life after NIL, why we didn’t take our fifth year, our passions, and business opportunities. We were specifically told via the publication the context would be to “see the Cavinders as a very important story not only in the context of women’s college sports but new media culture and business. They’re building a hugely successful brand, and they’re at the forefront of a new space, and we think that’s exciting and newsworthy
We discussed with our team and met the media opportunity openly after reviewing the intentions. Haley and I welcomed this man into our home. He followed us throughout the entire weekend asking us questions and understanding what goes on in our daily lives. After the weekend we had a sit down interview in our kitchen for over an hour and was only asked one question about our “physical looks”.
The subsequent article not only demeaned our athletic and business accomplishments it furthered the narrative that hard working, creative and driven women can only do well if they are deemed attractive. The piece disregards our work ethic and dedication towards NIL and business endeavors. He fails to acknowledge the young girls/women that follow us and that we work so hard to inspire. Instead he degrades us down to “hot girl(s)”. We agreed to do the interview and wanted to support a woman ran news outlet. We are both disappointed and disgusted by this journalism practice and blatant sexist trope. We only wish to inspire young woman to chase their dreams, work hard, think big. Now we must defend them against men that wish to sum their potential to physical appearance.
Yeah, pretty sure they won’t be exchanging holiday cards with Weiss or Strauss this year.
Here’s what Strauss said in the article about women, NIL and the Cavinder twins specifically:
Thing is, the athletes now profiting are not necessarily the ones with the most athletic prowess. Or at least that’s the case when it comes to female athletes.
While the Twins are accomplished basketball players—until recently, they played for Division I University of Miami—they’re nowhere near the top of the women’s basketball totem pole. The top players in college women’s basketball—like Keishana Washington at Drexel University or Caitlin Clark at University of Iowa—score close to 30 points per game. In her final year at Miami, Haley Cavinder scored just over 12 points per game; Hanna, just under 4 points. They were good, but not WNBA good.
So, how is this different than any kind of advertising? The professional athletes that get the biggest endorsement deals are the ones who are attractive and/or have the best personalities. That’s true of men and women. The Cavinders wisely saw an opportunity and jumped on it. They should be lauded for doing so.
Moreover, pitching an interview under false pretenses is never a good look. If that is indeed what happened here, Strauss and the publication need to address those allegations.
Also, whoever edited the article and came up with the headline misspelled the twins’ last name in the URL (“Cavender”). Again, not a great look.