LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne clapped back at critical comments made in a New York Times article that took shots at how she made money off name, image and likeness (NIL) deals.
The column highlighted how Dunne and some other female collegiate athletes used sex to push their brand and gain deals. Dunne has millions of followers on TikTok and Instagram and posts about her moves on the uneven bars as well as other social posts in her day-to-day life.
Legendary Stanford women’s basketball coach Tara VanDerveer also had critical remarks about Dunne.
But the LSU gymnast seemed unbothered. She posted a picture on her Instagram Stories directed at The New York Times.
“Is this too much?” she wrote as she stood near a balance beam.
Dunne, a junior going into the 2023 season, has one of the largest social media followings of any collegiate athlete, male or female, across any sport. She reportedly earns around $2 million with various sponsorships such as the activewear brand Vuori, American Eagle and Planet Fuel. Dunne is also signed to one of the biggest agencies in WME Sports.
VanDerveer, a staunch supporter of women’s rights who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, said she saw the trend as a “step back” for female athletes.
“I guess sometimes we have this swinging pendulum, where we maybe take two steps forward, and then we take a step back,” she told The New York Times in a recent interview. “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.
“This is a step back,” she added.
Dunne told the paper she is proud of what she has been able to accomplish with the floodgates opening for NIL deals.
“Seven figures,” she said. “That is something I’m proud of. Especially since I’m a woman in college sports. There are no professional leagues for most women’s sports after college.”
The New Jersey native is also an accomplished collegiate gymnast and has proven to excel on and off the floor.
When Dunne first started at LSU in 2021, she made the SEC’s First-Year Academic Honor Roll and was a WCGA Academic All-American as well. She was a WCGA All-American in the uneven bars and, in 2022, was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll.