Lauren Holiday Brain Tumor: Media Still Fails Women Athletes

Headlines focus on gold medal winner’s NBA husband

Even after waves of criticism that came out of the Rio Olympics, many media outlets still haven’t learned how to write about female athletes.

Two-time gold medal-winning soccer player Lauren Holiday has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and will have to undergo surgery while pregnant.

At 28 years old, she is just six weeks away from her due date, according to reports.

But what dominated the headlines, instead, was that her husband, NBA player Jrue Holiday, was going to have to take a break from the beginning of his season with the New Orleans Pelicans in order to care for his wife.

“Even if you take away the fact that Lauren’s athletic accomplishments are greater than her husband’s — she scored in the 2015 World Cup final — you’d think they may want to mention the person with a brain tumor by their, you know, name,” wrote Tom Lutz of The Guardian.

Indeed, when TheWrap searched Google News for “Lauren Holiday,” ten out of 26 story headlines listed in the search results focused on the NBA player’s leave of absence rather than the Olympic champion soccer player’s personal tragedy. The focus on Jrue Holiday was even more acute when we searched his proper name, representing 20 out of 26 results.

Last month the Chicago Tribune acknowledged its failure to name Corey Cogdell-Unrein in their tweet about her bronze medal win at the Rio games, instead focusing on the fact that she’s the wife of a Bears lineman, Mitch Unrein.

The incident was a highlight in a greater critique that emerged about how women Olympians were being covered by the press, often acknowledged for their husbands’ achievements and for other things that fell outside of their athletic prowess.