New York Rangers website publishes girls' guide, sparks outrage
The New York Rangers removed its Girls Guide to Watching the Rangers less than an hour after putting it online.
|The New York Rangers published a girls' guide to watching the team. It did not go well. (Sarah Kwak Twitter)|
For decades, it seems that hockey-related organizations have struggled finding ways to reach and engage a new audience. Those that try are often ill-equipped to offer digestible explanations of the game to those new to hockey without coming off as sounding like a kindergarten teacher, particularly when it comes to women. If you’ve done this enough times with friends, you’ve probably learned that sometimes it’s just best to let the game speak for itself and let them learn as they go.
The New York Rangers are finding this out the hard way after putting online the “Girl's Guide to Watching the Rangers.”
As was the case when CBC launched “While the Men Watch,” a kind-of hockey TV program for a female audience, the Rangers were quickly derided for the condescending way in which the article addresses its female readers.
The story, which the Rangers were quick to point out was written by a contributor not employed by the team, was formatted in a slide-show format with words of apparent advice for female fans.
Among the tips, “You need to sense the tension at certain points in the game and let [the men] do their jumping, screaming and cheering thing. You can tell if something huge has happened by their reaction, and if you’re absolutely lost, wait for the replay. There’s always a replay after a major play.”
The article also suggests learning a few names of the players by looking up the roster on the Rangers website, the importance of getting to know goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, and reassuring the reader that it’s all right to ask the man questions.
It took Twitter all of about two seconds to unleash the fury. The article itself had more than 40 comments -- mostly negative -- within minutes. Less than an hour later, the post was wiped from the Internet. The Rangers’ tweet directing people to the story was also deleted.
Sarah Kwak of Sports Illustrated wasn't about to let the Rangers get away clean. She shared screen grabs of each of the slideshow pages on her Twitter timeline.
Sometimes it’s just best to have faith in adults to figure things out for themselves.
Update: The New York Rangers tweeted the following statement in response to the backlash from the Girl's Guide: “Today's article was posted by a fan contributor. We determined article was inappropriate & took it down. We apologize to all offended fans."
It’s good that the Rangers acknowledged that the story was in poor taste and shouldn’t have been published, but the fact that a fan contribution wouldn’t go through some sort of vetting process before it appears on a team-affiliated site seems a little hard to believe.
Additionally, the Rangers initially tweeted the link to the Girl’s Guide from the official Twitter account, suggesting that someone had to at least read the story first before sharing with nearly 195,000 followers.
The organization took the appropriate measures, acknowledged the mistake and now hopefully can move on with some new policies on fan contributions.
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