LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne is hitting back at The New York Times.
One day after The Times published the feature, “New Endorsements for College Athletes Resurface an Old Concern: Sex Sells,” which chronicled Dunne’s growing social media profile and bottom line, the 20-year-old athlete called out the publication Wednesday in an Instagram Story, where she posted a pic from the photoshoot.
“Is this too much?” Dunne wrote, tagging The Times’ Instagram handle.
Dunne, who boasts more than two million Instagram followers, frequently shares photos of herself on the platform, where she can be seen modeling everyday wear, swimsuits, or her LSU leotards.
In recent years, Dunne has become one of the most influential student-athletes, inking endorsement deals following the NCAA’s name, image, and likeness (NIL) rule change last summer.
“Seven figures,” Dunne told The Times of how much she is earning in NIL deals. “That is something I’m proud of. Especially since I’m a woman in college sports.”
While highlighting Dunne’s earnings, The Times also noted that “the new flood of money — and the way many female athletes are attaining it — troubles some who have fought for equitable treatment in women’s sports and say that it rewards traditional feminine desirability over athletic excellence.”
Elsewhere in the piece, Tara VanDerveer, Stanford’s legendary women’s basketball coach, elaborated on why the strategy could be considered a “step back.”
“I guess sometimes we have this swinging pendulum, where we maybe take two steps forward, and then we take a step back. We’re fighting for all the opportunities to compete, to play, to have resources, to have facilities, to have coaches, and all the things that go with Olympic-caliber athletics,” VanDerveer said, adding, “This is a step back.”
Dunne, who is currently a junior at LSU, ranks at No. 1 on On3 Sports’ list of female NIL moneymakers, valuing athletes by performance, influence, and exposure. The company, which focuses on college sports digital media, data, and marketing, values Dunne at $2.3 million.