By Alex Nixon The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
A 12-year-old Arizona girl's letter scolding Dick's Sporting Goods for not featuring female athletes in a recent catalog went viral on social media and forced an apology from the Findlay retailer's CEO.
McKenna Peterson, a basketball player from Phoenix, took Dick's to task last week because the only pictures of women in the retailer's fall basketball catalog were on the sidelines.
"There are NO girls in the catalog!" she wrote in the letter, which her dad posted to his Twitter account, @TheCheapSeatsTV. "Oh, wait, sorry. There IS a girl in the catalog on page 6. SITTING in the STANDS. ... It's hard enough for girls to break through in this sport as it is, without you guys excluding us from your catalog."
The Twitter post was retweeted thousands of times, and McKenna has been featured in news stories in the Washington Post, on the "Today" show and elsewhere.
Dick's CEO Ed Stack said Saturday that the company "clearly messed up," and he promised next year's catalog would "prominently feature female athletes," according to a letter Dick's posted on its Twitter account.
"As a dad and former coach, I understand firsthand the importance of youth sports for all kids," he wrote.
Stack offered to meet Peterson and her parents on his next trip to Arizona and apologize in person.
The Petersons were not available to comment. Dick's officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Dick's, with nearly 600 stores in the United States, has gained sales by offering more products for women.
In August, Stack told analysts that it is allocating more floor space to women's and youth athletic apparel as profits declined on weakness in golf gear.
"We shifted floor space away from golf and fitness and now have a broader, more compelling selection of women's apparels and youth apparel supported by an enhanced product presentation," Stack said.
The company said net income dropped 17.5 percent to $69.5 million in the three months ended Aug. 2, despite a 10.3 percent increase in sales.