Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

No, it’s not Kendall Jenner’s fault the Sixers lost | Opinion

A petition to ban the model from the Wells Fargo Center garnered nearly 10,000 signatures, and I'm tired of this sexist trope being perpetuated.

Kendall Jenner watched Ben Simmons play basketball on Friday. Oh, the audacity.
Kendall Jenner watched Ben Simmons play basketball on Friday. Oh, the audacity.Read moreTIM TAI / Staff Photographer

On Friday night, the 76ers lost to the worst team in the NBA.

I promise you: That loss is not Kendall Jenner's fault. And it's not funny that people think it is.

Shortly after the Cavaliers beat the Sixers, 121-112, to snap Philly's 20-game regular-season home win streak, a misguided fan thought he found the root of the problem. And he thought the best way to solve it was to start an online petition.

"The madness must stop. Ban Kendall Jenner from the Wells Fargo Center."

Although this callout was clearly created in jest, it has roots in an age-old sexist trope: It's always the woman's fault.

"At this point, Jenner is not only damaging the future of this franchise but the livelihood of innocent men as well," the petition continues. "It is disgusting behavior on her part."

Personally, I think there is far more disgusting behavior demonstrated in the person who got a laugh out of creating the petition and the 9,100 people — and counting — who signed it.

One commenter said banning Jenner would allow Simmons "to actually focus on the game." Glad you think a man making millions of dollars to play basketball is incapable of ignoring what's happening on the sidelines.

Women — especially those in a male-dominated arena like sports — are so often the ones being blamed for a man's actions.

Jenner isn't the first famous woman to be criticized for her role in a famous man's life; she's just the most recent example.

In 2007, Jessica Simpson watched then-boyfriend Tony Romo lose to the Eagles. The next day, she was blamed for it. Sure, it wasn't the QB's injury-prone back. It was the former pop star's presence at the stadium.

In 2015, a reporter claimed the Packers' losing streak was the fault of Olivia Munn, who was dating quarterback Aaron Rodgers, calling their relationship a "possible off-field issue." Munn was so fed up with the blatant sexism that she took to Twitter to call it out.

And just two months ago, Ariana Grande was blamed for the overdose death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller. Fans implied their breakup had caused him to ramp up his drug use even though the 26-year-old rapper had been battling substance abuse for years, forcing Grande to defend herself while mourning his death.

It gets tiring to see these headlines pop up again, and again, and again. It gets tiring reading through chauvinist comments telling women to get back to the kitchen. And this is just on the internet — we all know it can be even worse in real life.

Why do women regularly get blamed for things they did not do? Because, as the Kendall Jenner petition proves, our culture holds a broad, sexist view of the role we play in it — we have to carry the burden of policing men's behavior as well as our own. It's 2018, and a high-profile woman is still expected to be a submissive girlfriend above all else.

A woman's place in her significant other's life isn't something an observer gets to decide. A Sixers fan, understandably frustrated by a disappointing performance, doesn't get to blame anyone but the people on the court. Women already have enough to deal with. I don't think it's too much to ask that we not become responsible for how many rebounds a player picks up, too.

The petition might have made a few people laugh. Those people might have sent it to friends. Maybe they all signed on as a joke.

But by allowing grumpy Sixers fans to consider banning Jenner a real possibility, that petition perpetuates stereotypes. It adds to the problem. It makes it worse.

Lucky for us, we have a counter-petition demanding Jenner attend every home game, calling the original petition "classic Philly fan reactionary nonsense." It's good to see some people on the internet taking this rational approach.

Simmons, for his part, had an excuse that didn't involve Kendall Jenner.

"Why do you think it was such a struggle?"

"Probably all the food from Thanksgiving."

As far as we can tell, Jenner and Simmons are officially "an item" once more. She'll undoubtedly be back courtside at the Wells Fargo Center.

Next time you're ready to blame her for a bad game, take a look at the box score. Why don't you criticize Simmons for shooting … wait, does that really say zero three-pointers? … before you criticize Jenner for watching him do it.