With the Chicago Blackhawks one win away from winning the Stanley Cup June 8, the Chicago Tribune took a swipe at one of the most hated players for the Philadelphia Flyers, Chris Pronger.
The Tribune published a poster of Pronger wearing his black Flyers' uniform, with helmet, gloves, stickand a figure skater's dress.
Emotions ran the gamut from sexist to anti-gay to just plain sports humor.
"I think the poster is sexist, but not homophobic," said Wayne Knaub, a gay hockey player in Philadelphia. "This is very similar to the New York Post's 'Frillies' front page during the World Series, showing Shane Victorino wearing a cheerleader skirt with his jersey.
"What's meant as good natured fun has overtones of, 'You throw like a girl.' At the end of the day, there's so much more going on in the world that I'm not going to lose sleep over seeing Chris Pronger in an ice-hockey skirt."
Cyd Zeigler of Outsports.com added, "The poster isn't remotely anti-gay. Just because he is in a skirt and on ice skates doesn't make him gay; it makes him Kristi Yamaguchi. It's good-natured city-versus-city sports posturing, and the only person who should be offended is the fashion community. The skirt just doesn't go with that jersey."
Pronger was asked about the poster during media availability June 8. "I don't read what you guys write. Good or bad," he said.
Andrew Sobotka, president of the Chicago Gay Hockey Association ( CGHA ) , said: "I think the poster showing Chrissy Pronger is funny, actually. Some people see it as homophobic, but I see it for what it is, a way to get the Chicago fans united in hating the Flyers."
Added Stephen Leonard of the CGHA, "I think, to many, [ the poster ] could be very offensive. It's reinforcing gender disparity by comparing two completely different and equally challenging sports. And if you think about reversing the roles and applying hockey gear to a female figure skater, the punchline would most likely be lost as it would give her a sense of power, which I think seems a little uneven, yes?"
Other CGHA members asked for a comment about the poster simply laughed, with none looking at it as anti-gay.
Years ago, in a development now in YouTube lore, former NFL quarterback Jim Everett attacked sportscaster Jim Rome for repeatedly calling him Chris Everett.
The Blackhawks wrapped up the series June 9, defeating the Flyers in six games.