A 12-year-old girl from Arizona called out Dick’s Sporting Goods for failing to include female athletes in its 2014 basketball catalog — and got plenty of backup on the Web.
Now the company’s CEO has responded and offered to apologize in person to McKenna Peterson and her family.
McKenna’s letter to the company, which her father tweeted, drew attention to the lack of gender equality in its latest basketball ads.
“I think that girls should be treated as equally as boys are treated,” she wrote. “I, myself, enjoying playing and watching basketball, WOMENS basketball.”
The self-proclaimed “Fabulous Basketball Player” was praised on Twitter for bringing attention to the issue.
Although the basketball catalog does include women, they are portrayed in passive or supportive roles: “sitting in the stands” or “mentioned once in the catalog on page 5 for some shoes” or as “cheerleaders on some coupons,” McKenna wrote.
“It’s hard enough for girls to break through in this sport as it is, without you guys excluding us from your catalog,” she added.
The Petersons said they might take their business elsewhere unless Dick’s resolved to include more women in its advertising; McKenna even named several of her favorite professional women’s basketball players who would fit the bill in the letter.
“Maybe my dad will take me to some other store that supports girls to actually PLAY basketball and follow their dreams and not sit on the sidelines and watch the game to get my next pair of shoes and equipment,” McKenna wrote.
McKenna’s father, Chris Peterson, tweeted out a response note the family received from Dick’s and expressed his disappointment with the “form letter.”
A Dick’s representative later contacted the family by phone.
“They said that they liked her letter and that in future publications they will consider putting more women in the catalog,” Peterson told CNN. “They also pointed us to a commercial that they are running that apparently has a girl in it. It was a very nice conversation that McKenna re-stated her opinion that there needs to be more girls represented.”
Over the weekend, Dick’s CEO Ed Stack addressed McKenna’s concerns in a letter the company posted to Twitter. Stack said Dick’s “messed up” and promised to include female athletes in the next basketball catalog. He also offered to meet with the family during a future trip to Arizona.