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Eagles Coach Nick Sirianni Shuts Down Gross, Sexist Question About His Five-Year-Old Daughter

Coach Nick Sirianni of the Philadelphia Eagles speaks during a press conference

If you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan you’re probably aware of head coach Nick Sirianni’s adorable family, who joined him at a press conference a few weeks ago when the team won the NFC championship. (I had to look up what that is, and it’s one of the games that determines who goes to the Super Bowl.)

If you’re not aware, a.k.a., for the people who needed the aside to know what the NFC Championship was, Sirianni had his three young children join him for the press conference after they cinched the title because it’s a huge professional achievement. Because his kids are young, they acted like young kids did, and it was pretty cute. Have a look:

So naturally in the leadup to the Super Bowl last week there were some questions about his kids. Primarily his daughter because people will always find a way to make it weird about young girls. Case in point, someone asked him:

“Which one guy would you let your daughter date off team”

To which he replied:

“My daughter’s five.”

Sirianni laughed it off, and pivoted to talking about how the team is full of great guys because there’s no winning in that kind of exchange. Of all the media training you can get, I can’t imagine they prepare you for a line of questioning like that, though. Good grief.

There is so much wrong with this simple throwaway exchange, though.

First, why is a five-year-old girl getting singled out for questions about dating? Why were the other two children, who are boys, not asked that question? We know the heteronormative, patriarchal answer here, but it shows just how sexualized young girls are at an early age. It’s disgusting. She’s five.

Secondly, what the absolute f*ck does dating have to do with the athletic achievement he’s there to talk about. If you must ask about his daughter, ask what position she’d play on the team. What she’s most excited about on the day. Hell, ask if she’s proud of her dad. To ask if she’s allowed to date a damn player on the team, the youngest of whom is 22 years old—a 17-year age gap and a felony in every state in this country—is abhorrent.

What I find most insidious is that comments like this are designed to prop up dated stereotypes at every level in society. Asking a coach about what player can date his daughter reinforces how women are outsiders in the sport. There are only six full-time female coaches in the NFL. It’s extremely other-ing to center the daughter of a coach as a love interest for a player rather than ask “does she have an interest in the sport as a player or as a coach?” The dating question was not asked of his sons, so it was clearly gendered, and it’s just one of the thousand little cuts women and girls have to endure every day, to let us know the world doesn’t consider us its main characters, just love interests at best. The Devil’s Advocates among us will tell us to lighten up, it means nothing, but that’s the point: The comment was so thoughtless because so ingrained is this bullshit in society.

It’s gross. A father shouldn’t have to field a question like that about his daughter, and a young girl shouldn’t have a question like that asked of her on a very public stage. The fact that it was all treated as light-hearted fluff makes me want to put on some Bikini Kill and scream at the top of my lungs. I hope we can do better by Sirianni’s daughter and every 5-year-old girl out there because this right here sucks.

(featured image: Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

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