`
 (Toll Free)

Upper Deck alienates female hockey collectors

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Hockey Editor | Commentary/Opinion

Seriously?

I’m still waiting for the punchline. That’s how I felt when I read Upper Deck’s blog post supposedly written by a female fan. She bases her collecting focuses on a player’s looks.

That’s all well and good. You’re allowed to look at someone and gauge their looks. It’s human nature.

But for Upper Deck to endorse this post and write on Twitter “Here’s a story for the female @NHL fans out there. How to (sic) #collect NHL cards from a female correspondent,” is demeaning, thoughtless and sexist.

Here’s an example (up top is a screen grab of the post):

“I like to tune in early to see them introduce the goalie matchup where they show both netminders (usually unmasked) so I can pick the one who is cuter and cheer for his team during the game. This strategy makes watching dozens of games for which I have no personal investment in the outcome suddenly more entertaining and recommend more women hockey fans give it a try.”

Seriously, Upper Deck? You thought this would be a good idea to post on your company blog and never once thought you would alienate some of your customers?

I cannot believe that in 2013 I have to actually comment on a post like this. I cannot believe in 2013 after the New York Rangers stupidly put up a post on their site that was degrading toward women, Upper Deck had the gall to move forward with this post.

So let me explain how the female hockey fan works, and collects.

I grew up in New York. I had friends who were hockey fans and rooted for the Rangers. The Islanders were too far away and the Devils were a New Jersey team. Through friendships and the excitement of the 1994 Stanley Cup run, I liked the Rangers.

So, my hockey collection consists of Rangers cards because they are the team I root for.

I also collect Aaron Palushaj cards and NOT because of his looks. His heritage is the same as mine; we have friends in common because our relatives run in the same circle. It’s a way to connect to someone that has a commonality.

There are thousands of intelligent, fun female hockey out there. They love to talk about the game, players and strategies. But not in the way Upper Deck has portrayed. These women are hockey fans, no different from men who root for the game.

Seriously, Upper Deck. I’m disgusted … and still waiting for punchline.

Susan Lulgjuraj is an editor of Beckett Hockey. You can email her here with questions, comments or ideas. Follow her on Twitter here. Follow Beckett Media on Facebook.

26 Comments

Chris

Uh oh, UD, you angered The Sooz. Expect lots of thinly veiled tweets bashing you over the next day.

Posted March 5, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Permalink
Ben

I don’t know Susan, I think it’s kind of silly to be angry over it. You shouldn’t be offended, this is just UD showcasing one woman collector’s personal collecting preferences. That’s why she collects and you don’t have to agree with it. I think it’s a good idea for card companies to focus on women collectors whenever they get a chance to. It’s makes good business sense in a predominantly male hobby. No offense by the way, I really enjoy your articles.

Posted March 5, 2013 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

While I definitely agree with you, the coin also flips the other way. There are definitely female athletes that have their skills devalued because of their looks. Anna Kournikova for example had her bouts of greatness, but her popularity in the sport was largely bouyed by her looks and the male fans who follow her because of it. Why Upper Deck would voluntarily post a commentary like that though shows poor foresight by their PR team. Ultimately, those who are actual fans of a sport have their reasons to cheer for (or against) certain teams and/or players aside from looks and that should be how it is. Just from the bit that you quoted, it just sounds like the piece was written by a bored housewife.

Posted March 5, 2013 at 11:07 pm | Permalink
Ryan R

They probably should have worded the title better, if they said from a female fan’s perspective it would have been much less sweeping. Unfortunately some women that don’t actually like sports get through them in manners like this, believing any of them collect cards also strikes me as a bit of a stretch however.

I wouldn’t worry about it though, upper deck only has one license out of the four major sports, and it’s the weakest of the four. They might not exist in a few years

Posted March 5, 2013 at 11:56 pm | Permalink
Flex Rager

As a male I’m tired of being treated like a piece of meat. My delectable buns are for sitting on, not for ogling. This offends me as much as it does you, Susan.

Posted March 6, 2013 at 12:05 am | Permalink
rick

Sounds like a classic example of being tender and butthurt.

Posted March 6, 2013 at 8:02 am | Permalink
Bill

Susan, this is America where everyone is entitled to their opinion. This is the rock solid core to which our country and our democracy has been based … and this article by Jersey Girl and reposted by Upper Deck is just that, one person’s opinion as to why they collect a certain way. Does the fact that she collects based on how a player looks really differentiate so much from a person who collects on say who has the best looking uniforms?

As I know many a person who picks and cheers for their favorite professional team this way or picks their NCAA Tournament Bracket by jersey color or attractiveness of the logo? Is this really that different, not really. But for some reason it struck a nerve in you, but then again you being able to state your opinion is in fact no different from Jersey Girl and in turn Upper Deck simply posting a story about a particular collector’s way to collect.

It also seems funny, and I find over the top, what appears to me being an anti-Upper Deck agenda at Beckett whereas everything that comes out of your fellow Dallas area card producer (Panini) is golden in your eyes and portrayed as such even though market reaction is just the opposite? Say what you want, but as a collector, no card company listens to their “constituents” more than Upper Deck, especially if you took the time to look at their Facebook and Twitter accounts, I have never seen a question not answered or addressed. Whereas I, in the past 2 weeks, have left 3 messages about outstanding redemptions @ Panini to no avail or reply.

Lastly, did you even take the time to reach out to Upper Deck for comment? Or did you just post your opinion without even asking for theirs and their rationale for posting the story? Yet, at the same time you blast someone else for their opinion, while in essense doing the same yourself.

Posted March 6, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink
scott p

Ryan R,

Did you really say that UD may go out of business!?!? You must be a fellow collector from the United States and no offence but it was just a wild guess? That’s some big words to throw out there but your right, the NHL is the weakest sport down south. But then again NHL is at the top of the list….by far… just north of you. UD may not have a bunch of hands in the cookie jar but its got one pretty big hand in this jar. Let’s talk again in 3 years.

Cheers Eh!

Posted March 6, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink
Buster Brown

Typical of the clueless cash grabbing guys at the top running the company. Come on Mrs. McWilliam clean house and start at the top. The only way to restore Upper Deck to what it was in the past is to get rid of all of the cash taking snakes left at the top.

I would think that Mrs. McWilliam being a professional woman and mother would be severely offended by this
type of PR at her company.

Posted March 6, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink
Susan Lulgjuraj

Bill,

I actually have no problem with Upper Deck. In fact, have sent plenty of my Beckett salary buying its hockey product this year because I think the company has done a great job with them as been shown by the reviews in the magazines.

I don’t even have a problem with what the woman wrote even if I didn’t agree with it.

My issue with the post was that a company would perpetuate stereotype that female sports fans have to deal with constantly hearing comments of “You just like (put player name here) because you think he’s cute.” Female sports fans seemingly have to prove themselves as “real” fans to be taken seriously in conversations.

And I never painted Upper Deck as a bad company with a broad stroke. This is a specific moment in which I found tasteless and was offended by their actions.

Posted March 6, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink
Ed

Susan,

This gives you a good idea of what the So-called “Management Team” at Upper Deck is working on, besides flooding the market with Jordan Auto’s now worth $500.00 and going south.

What a Shame……..they had a good thing at one time.

Posted March 6, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink
Clifford the Great

susan you’re too sensative, get over it already…probably why you’re single

Posted March 6, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink
Susan Lulgjuraj

Clifford,

FYI, I’m not single.

Sigh. Not sure why trying to belittle people is part your agenda. Even if people don’t agree thought perhaps we could have a discussion.

Posted March 6, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink
Ryan R

Hello Scott P

I realize that hockey is much bigger in Canada than the US and I called it one of the four major sports for a reason. But from a money making standpoint the truth is that it’s the weakest of the four, the idiots running the NHL allowing an extended lockout every few years isn’t helping growth either.

With that said my point was that Upper Deck has one license, if they lose that license they are probably in trouble. Topps and Panini have more than one, so they don’t share that potential plight at this point.

Posted March 6, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink
Different Bill

I asked my wife to read it. She thought it was embarrassing too. When I read it I just thought it was one of those airheaded Kardashian worshipper types. I am a hockey fan and I buy UD product all the time. I am chalking it up to one of those deals where they try to reach the US Magazine / E channel crowd rather than reaching out to smart, female collectors that they already have. Just bad marketing….and pointless.

Posted March 6, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Permalink
zotster

Some thoughts from a newspaper sports editor, nearly 40-year collector and boyfriend of a woman far more knowlegable about sports than me: I don’t think the article itself was bad, but it was poorly presented. The headline should have made it clear that it was just one woman’s point of view, and not reflective of most female fans and/or collectors.

That said, there is a definite bias toward attractive players from both sides of the fence. I’ve talked with female collectors myself who have said they collect certain players or root for certain teams because they find them physically attractive. By the same token, I myself have paid far too much money over the years maintaining a Manon Rheaume collection – partly because I admire her achievements, partly because we happen to share the same birthday, but mostly because having met her in person a couple of times, I know that she is both smokin’ hot and incredibly sweet (A trend I’ve noticed in female hockey players in general).

Living in the women’s hoop hotbed of Connecticut, I also collect WNBA and other women’s basketball cards and have noticed that the prices of such cards are partly based on ability, but even more based on good looks. Not to draw race into it, but I’ve noticed that pretty white players with somewhat above average talent sell for more than some of the best players in the league, who may be black and seen as less pretty. I’m also a big tennis card collectior, and the same certainly holds true there – Anna Kournikova cards often sell for more than Roger Federer, despite a vast difference in talent level and achievements.

So Susan, I think you were not wrong to be offended by the way the article was presented, but I also feel it reflects a trend in card collecting (including and especially non-sports – compare prices of costume cards or autographs from pretty female actresses compared to male actors) that beauty sells.

Posted March 6, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink
horn

She collects for a different reason than you, UD publishes her thoughts on collecting, but you’re so thin-skinned you get angry over her opinion? Calling some other woman’s opinion ‘degrading’ is merely…your opinion. Specious at best.

I guess everyone’s entitled to your opinion, though.

Maybe you can also explain why Mia Hamm and Alex Morgan and Hope Solo are more collected than other female soccer players too. I’m sure it’s not because men like looking at them.

Posted March 6, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink
Susan Lulgjuraj

Horn, as I said earlier in the comments, my issue is not with the person who wrote the post. She is allowed to collect and root for players any way that she wants. My issue was with the presentation by Upper Deck that it made seem as though it was generalizing the female collecting community.

Posted March 6, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink
Joe

I understand Susan’s ire. The problem is not so much the content of the blog, but the milieu. Such a shallow, uninformed, almost disinterested (!?) take on card collecting is fine, but to present this to actual card collectors, some of them women, seems unwise. It would be like having a six-year-old write a blog for Beckett where all he talks about is how much he likes chewing the gum and putting the cards in the spokes of his bicycle. What relevance does that have to the average contemporary collector other than to completely misrepresent them? (Actually, I’d prefer a return to that innocence and simplicity in cards but that’s another issue.) This woman’s hilariously vapid blog post should have been directed at non-collectors, not female collectors. I think it IS patronizing to women collectors, perhaps even collectors in general. The message in isolation isn’t the problem, just the audience it’s directed at.

Posted March 6, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink
Mark

This is an opinion piece. I am offended that it is in a NEWS feed.

Seriously, we have a problem with people writing about why they collect cards? Don’t we want people to collect cards? My late wife used the same method. I would roll my eyes, but I would never tell her I was offended, and I wasn’t offended. To take offense at such a trivial matter is just ridiculous. Save your offense for things that actually matter instead of a blogger expressing her opinion and preference for Carey Price.

Posted March 6, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink
Anthony

I think that the title of this blog post is just as horrible as UD’s. To say that they have alienated an entire gender for an entire hobby is quite a reach and just as irresponsible. I sense some hypocrisy.

But, I’m not offended either, so take my comments with a grain of salt. Just offering some perspective.

Posted March 6, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink
Adam

I think that the amount of men posting on here who don’t see the original upper deck post as a problem is a real eye opener. It just goes to show that although you may think you are enlightened or equal opportunity, many of you still have issues holding women and their opinions in the same regard as your own (men).

Posted March 6, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

Hi Susan,

I COMPLETELY agree with you. I’m the editor of sportscardforum.com’s magazine and I think the way UD presented this story is plain awful…”Here’s a story for our female collectors by a female collector”. I have no idea how that story is meant to appeal to other female collectors…I mean are we meant to see the error or our way and wise up to the fact that the players are so much more than just stats and are actually, in fact, delicious to look at? Unreal. As a female hockey fan I do find that we keep having to show our knowledge and seriousness about our love of the sport and that kind of post AND the fact that UD gave it such a platform is not what we need to get rid of stereotypes…

Anyways, I’m glad I’m not the only one who took the time to write about it…

Posted March 6, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink
chrisolds

Mark: Do you believe that there’s no place for opinion pieces on news platforms? Because if that’s the case, you’d better not turn on the TV, open up any newspaper in the country, listen to the radio etc. … In fact, very little of what you see/hear on TV “news” channels or sports stations is actual news. A majority of what’s said is, in fact, opinion.

Any news organization that goes without commentary (opinion) as part of its coverage won’t last long.

Posted March 7, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink
Suzy

As a female collector who has been collecting since 1981 (boy that makes me feel old) – I don’t get too offended by things like this. It is what it is. I know why I collect – I love watching baseball and football, and I love opening cards – simple as that. My husband and kids enjoy opening packs too but I am definitely the main collector in our household.

I’ve met some sexist and condescending card shop owners/dealers and fellow collectors along the way but I’ve also met some great people that respect my knowledge of cards and sports. Anyway, thanks, Susan, for sticking up for us. Personally, I like reading your articles, watching your videos and getting another female perspective on this great hobby. Thank you!

Posted March 7, 2013 at 11:09 am | Permalink
gb5hof

This is news? As a Tiger fan….go to a game and you’ll notice that 50% of the women in the crowd wear Brandon Inge jerseys. I can assure you its not because he was the best player on the team. Who cares.

Posted March 7, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*