A little girl has made a big splash after a fiery letter she penned to the powers-that-be at Dick’s Sporting Goods was tweeted by her father.
12-year-old McKenna Peterson is an avid basketball player and fan and was inspired to write the letter after receiving a Dick’s catalog with little to no female representation. “She got angry,” her father Chris Peterson told TODAY.com.
So she took to the computer to put her thoughts in writing. Her father covers sports for NBC12 and AZCentral Sports in Phoenix, and he did his best to help out. “When she was writing the letter, I was suggesting things to say, and she said, “Daddy, shut up. I got this.” When Chris reviewed his daughter’s work, he couldn’t believe how well she articulated her point.
In the letter McKenna shows wisdom beyond her years, writing, “I think girls should be treated as equally as boys are treated.” She rattles off stats about her favorite female basketball stars with pride.
She continues: “There are NO girls in the catalog! Oh, wait, sorry. There IS a girl in the catalog on page 6. SITTING IN THE STANDS. Women are only mentioned once in the catalog on page 5 for some shoes...It’s hard enough for girls to break through in this sport as it is, without you guys excluding us from your catalog.”
Chris tweeted a photo of the letter before he and his family went to see a movie on Thursday. When they got out of the movie a couple hours of later, it was going viral. “I said, ‘McKenna, get ready because this is going to be pretty big!’”
Representatives of Dick’s became aware of the letter and reached out to McKenna and Chris. “The woman who reached out was very nice," Chris Peterson said. "She told me they really liked her letter and said the letter has prompted some changes and they’ll look to include more women in the future.”
On Saturday, Dick's CEO Ed Stacks sent a letter to McKenna, saying "I'm sorry, we clearly messed up and I can personally guarantee that next year's basketball catalog will prominently feature female athletes, as it should have this year."
Stacks also went as far as to offer to apologize to McKenna in person, when he plans to visit a Dick's store in Arizona in the upcoming weeks.
ESPN's Darrel Rovell tweeted the letter in full:
Dick’s did not yet respond to TODAY’s request for comment.
McKenna has been playing basketball since she was in first grade, and has been a sports fan in general for most of her life. She’s a big football fan, with a particular admiration for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but her true love is the WNBA. Chris took her to a few Phoenix Mercury games when they moved to town from Canada in 2012, and she was hooked.
“If you’d have said to me 5 years ago that I’d be a season ticket holder of the WNBA, I would’ve laughed out loud,” he admits. But now Chris, McKenna, his wife and his younger daughter have become loyal fans.
And he’s always been sure to let his daughters know they deserve the best. “I’m used to being the only guy in the house,” Chris said. “I’m very aware of equality and giving girls a chance that they need, and they deserve it.
“My daughter is awesome. She deserves to play basketball and go into a store and have 20 choices, not two.”
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect Dick's CEO Ed Stack's letter of apology to McKenna Patterson. The story was originally published on Oct. 10 at 7:49 p.m.