Hanna and Haley Cavinder helped lead the Miami Hurricanes to the Elite Eight in the women’s basketball tournament, which helped increase their already widely known profile on social media.
The twin sisters were the topic of a story in The Free Press with the tile "The NCAA Has a ‘Hot Girl’ Problem." The sub-headline on the piece read, "The Cavinder Twins, the emerging oligarchs of women’s college basketball, aren’t the best players. But they might be the best-looking."
The story touches on the appeal of the Cavinder twins and how they marketed themselves on social media and benefited in the name, image and likeness (NIL) era of college athletics.
But hours after the story was published, Hanna Cavinder claimed she and her sister were misled.
"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," the statement read. "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 and 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 regarding our ‘physical looks.’
"The subsequent article not only demeaned our athletic achievements 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/woman 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, dream big. Now we must also defend them against men that wish to sum their potential to physical appearance."
Sherwood Strauss, the author of the piece in question, didn’t respond to the criticism. Bari Weiss, the editor of The Free Press, called the story a "great piece."