On the eve of the Stanley Cup championship final game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Tribune sports editor Mike Kellams made a highly problematic editorial decision.
He ran a full page poster in that day’s editions of the paper that featured Flyers player Chris Pronger in a figure skater’s skirt with a caption reading: “Chrissy Pronger, Looks Like Tarzan, Skates Like Jane.”
Although Chris Pronger himself shrugged of the sophomoric attempt to disparage him when speaking to reporters, Kellams has received a fair amount of criticism from others, particularly women.
American Olympian Angela Ruggiero, a four-time medalist in hockey, told the Associated Press:
"I'd like to see that editor out on skates. I'll take them one-on-one on the ice any day. They obviously have never seen women's hockey and are living in the dark ages. ... Obviously it's offensive. It's disappointing more than anything."
The Chicago Blackhawks did go on to win the Stanley Cup Championship, beating the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 to win their first championship since 1961. And Chicago Tribune sports editor Mike Kellams has since apologized for publishing the “Chrissy Pronger” poster and clarified his intent. Here’s a sampling of his comments in the media:
"For [Angela Ruggiero] and others who took offense, I apologize. No qualifiers, I'm sorry. We were just having a little fun with a guy who has come to personify all that has gotten under the collective skin of Blackhawks fans. Pronger is talented that way. And we were trying to connect to that emotion in a fun way. For [Angela Ruggiero] and those who have been offended by this, I really do apologize. That was not our intent. Listen, you put me and Angela Ruggiero out on a rink together, she would own me."
GLAAD also called Kellams today to communicate our concerns about the troubling poster. It was not only sexist, it also bordered on homophobia as it attempted to question Pronger’s masculinity.
Kellams told GLAAD that the poster “was simply trying to have a little fun and was not meant to harm. I know that it has hurt some folks and for that, I apologize.”
We thank Kellams for his apology and ask him to refrain from making this kind of juvenile, mean-spirited editorial decision in the future.
If you’d like to contact Mike Kellams to voice your opinion you can reach him here: MKellams@tribune.com