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J.J. Watt calls out TV station for sexist headline about Kealia Ohai

For The Win logo For The Win 1/7/2020 Hemal Jhaveri

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Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt is out here fighting against sexism, just like the rest of us. Earlier this week, Watt’s fiancée Kealia Ohai was traded from the National Women’s Soccer League’s Houston Dash to the Chicago Red Stars. In an article announcing the trade on its website, the ABC station in Houston went with an appalling headline in their tweet.

“Houston Dash trade J.J. Watt’s fiancee to Chicago,” it reads.

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It shouldn’t need to be said, but for clarity’s sake: Women are much more than who they happen to be dating. Ohai is not just an accomplished individual and athlete, but a freaking person in her own right. She deserves much better than to be seen as an appendage of whoever she’s dating. It’s an infuriating choice of words and one that rankled not just a bunch of strangers on the internet, but Watt himself.

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“This headline is trash,” Watt tweeted. “Kealia Ohai (which is her name by the way, since you didn’t even bother to mention it) is incredible entirely on her own merit and deserves to be treated as such. Be better than this.”

Watt’s tweet is a great reminder that fighting against sexism and the patriarchy is everyone’s job, and shouldn’t just fall on the shoulders of women. It’s sweet that he stood up for his fiancée and it’s a good example of how to be an ally. Call out sexism when you see it, especially if you’re a white, male athlete with a lot of privilege in this world.

ABC 13 tried to apologize for their error, but ended up just missing the point entirely.

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“Hi JJ, Our sincere apologies. We 100% agree with you. Kealia Ohai is a soccer superstar who deserves her own headlines. We are sad to see her go. She is going to be a force in Chicago! We’ve loved doing stories on her many talents and accomplishments over the years.”

The problem, of course, is that they directed their apology to Watt instead of Ohai.

Ohai has played with the Houston Dash for six years and while the move to Chicago is going to be an adjustment, both Ohai and Watt look to be pretty stoked.

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