Women's Sport: NWSL star Kealia Ohai's fiancé NFL star JJ Watt calls for sexist news outlets to 'do better'

NFL Honors - Arrivals

Houston Dash forward, Kealia Ohai, today announced her move to fellow NWSL side Chicago Red Stars.

Having played football to a high level throughout her childhood and college years, Ohai was signed by Houston Dash in the 2014 NWSL College Draft at the age of 21. 

Just two years later in 2016, she was handed the captain's armband and went onto net 11 goals in ten games which left her tied for the season's Golden Boot alongside North Carolina Courage's Lynn Williams.

And it doesn't stop there.

Not only was she part of the U.S. Women's National Team (UWSNT) that won the 2012 World Cup, Ohai bagged the final-winning goal against Germany in the 44th minute. She also set a record in 2016 when she scored against Switzerland just 48 seconds after coming in - it was the fastest ever goal to be scored on a player's USWNT debut.

Kealia Ohai is a world-class footballer in her own right, complete with a glittering CV full of achievements but it seems news outlet, ABC Houston, only see her as J.J Watts' fiance.

When announcing Ohai's transfer to Red Stars, ABC Houston tweeted the following headline:

"Houston Dash trade J.J. Watt's fiancee to Chicago Red Star."

J.J. Watts is an accomplished defensive-end for the Houston Texans with a 5.5 million Twitter followers and an impressive track record in American Football. He also happens to be engaged to Ohai.

Nonetheless. This transfer story? Absolutely nothing to do with him.

What I find most demoralising about ABC Houston's treatment of this story is their lack of belief in Kealia Ohai's credentials. In Ohai, we have a Golden Boot winner, a World Cup winner, a World Cup final scorer, and an NWSL captain - so how is her most important detail her husband?

As well as disregarding her achievements, ABC Houston has managed to successfully objectify Kealia Ohai in less than ten words. Their headline suggests Ohai is nothing more than Watt's fiancé. Watt's belonging. His to own. Property. 

Romania v United States

Watt's responded to ABC Houston, labelling the headline as 'trash'.

"This headline is trash. 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," Ohai's fiance tweeted.

When it comes to women's football, America knows their stuff. From top college participation to consecutive World Cup triumphs, they are years ahead of the rest of us. But when it comes to their media, have they really made advances?

ABC Houston has highlighted the media's reluctance to honour sportswomen in their own right. Surely, a sportswoman's success isn't of her own doing? Does a sportswoman really deserve her own recognition? And are sportswomen even worthy of our column inches?

Sportswomen are constantly battling to prove their media worth, but when you've achieved all that Ohai has - what more can you do? The discrepancy between male and female coverage has grown too wide to just stand by and accept. It's lazy and it's tiring.  

In the words of J.J Watt, it really is time to do better. 

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