Olympic medallist Ruggiero takes offense to Chicago Tribune drawing of Pronger

The Chicago Tribune was trying to get under the skin of Flyers’ defenseman Chris Pronger, but instead ticked off three-time Olympic medallist Angela Ruggiero with its “Chrissy Pronger” photo, which ran in the Tuesday edition of the paper. (The photo shows Pronger wearing a skirt beside a headline that reads, “Chrissy Pronger. Looks like Tarzan, skates like Jane.”)

From SI.com:

Chris Pronger Story“I don’t read what you guys write, good or bad,” Pronger said Tuesday. “I really couldn’t care, to be honest with you. I’m worried about playing the game.”

Others weren’t so dismissive of the poster.

“I’d like to see that editor out on skates. I’ll take them one-on-one on the ice any day,” three-time Olympic medalist Angela Ruggiero told The Associated Press. “They obviously have never seen women’s hockey and are living in the dark ages.”

“For her and others who took offense, I apologize. No qualifiers, I’m sorry,” Chicago Tribune sports editor Mike Kellams said in an e-mail. “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.

“I grew up in Indiana and came to hockey as an adult. Ruggiero vs. me on the rink would be no contest. I know that from what she and her team did at the Vancouver Olympics.”

“Some people are still ignorant,” Ruggiero said. “Our sport doesn’t get a lot of exposure, so you have to see us play in the world championships or the Olympics to see what the highest caliber of women’s hockey is.

“Obviously, it’s offensive. It’s disappointing more than anything. I grew up playing with boys, trained with NHL players. I would go head-to-head with Pronger any day I could.”

Not to piss Ruggiero off even more than she already is, but I think she’s being a little defensive here. She needs to consider the context of the joke. The Tribune wasn’t taking a shot at women’s hockey or suggesting that it’s not on par with the NHL; it’s taking a shot at Pronger by suggesting he plays like a woman figuring skater. (Hence the women’s figure skater skirt that he’s wearing in the photo.)

That said, I’m not Ruggiero and I don’t want to qualify what her or anyone else takes offense of. The photo obviously offended her and I thought it was right for the editor to apologize and explain the paper’s intentions. He also did well to put Ruggiero up, while putting himself down in the comment about how a match between those two would be “no contest.”

Again though, people have to keep in mind the context of things like this. For there to be even a little outrage over this photo (which comes from a Chicago paper, directed at a boisterous Philadelphia player in the middle of the Stanley Cup finals mind you) is kind of absurd in my opinion. We’re way too sensitive as a society.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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