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Editorial: An open letter to Syracuse Crunch owner Howard Dolgon

To say you speak for a team that bases a woman's value on their looks is not okay.

NHL: Preseason-Nashville Predators at Tampa Bay Lightning Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to you, Syracuse Crunch owner Howard Dolgon, I now find myself in a position that I never thought I would be in.

I, as a woman, have been completely objectified by an organization that my identity is almost completely wrapped up in. I’ve been objectified on a giant billboard, for all of Syracuse—and all of the AHL and beyond—to see.

Honestly? I don't know how to handle it.

Let me be clear: This is not okay for me. To say that the Syracuse Crunch are a team that either only values attractive women or bases a woman's value on her looks is not okay.

I have spent thousands of dollars supporting this hockey team. I have flown to Grand Rapids twice, years apart, to support them in the Calder Cup final. I have attended away games in more than half a dozen different AHL cities. I have stayed at countless different hotels. I have sacrificed my health and my safety to attend games when I shouldn't have.

I have gone above and beyond what 90% of this team's male fan base has ever done.

Then you, the owner of this team, go out and put something like this in Syracuse. What am I supposed to think? That I am valued for my support of the team, rather than my appearance?

I think the worst part about this is that I feel like I have no real voice. The team already has my money. Beyond that, I won’t insult my own intelligence or the intelligence of those in the front office with the idea that I’m going to withdraw one ounce of my support over this. My love for this team goes beyond the actions of just one person, even if that one person is you, the owner.

However, I have had so many negative experiences thanks to the fact that I am a female heavily involved in a sport that has been traditionally male-dominated. I've been told to “go suck a ****” while supporting my team, by a man who disliked the fact that I was in his space.

My clothes have been pulled on and I have been physically pushed by fans who wanted me out of their way. I have been treated by a former player on the Crunch itself in a way that deserves its own serious article (I’ll save that for a different day), just because he didn't like what I had to say about the way he played his game.

Now my hockey team is telling me that the wives, and by extension, the only women, worth taking to a game (or maybe who have any worth at all) are ones that are considered "hot."

Let’s not forget the fact that women fans might be dragging men with them. Or, consider this: what if women simply came to the arena without men because they love the sport?

Mr. Dolgon — what if I just love hockey?

There is enough in hockey that reminds me that there are people out there who measure my worth only in my ability to entertain them sexually.

I don’t need a giant ad for my team reminding me of it, too.

~

Editor’s note: This has been an editorial. If you would like to express your own opinion about this topic, I invite you to do it in a polite, well thought-out editorial of your own over in FanPosts.