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To Whom It May Concern

To Whom It May Concern

You probably wouldn’t guess it from my online presence, but I’m a rather introverted person. I don’t like my business out there, I don’t like to be the center of attention and I’m a much better follower than leader. Therefore over the past two weeks when I found myself elbow deep in a “fight” that I never intended to enter, I retreated a little. But after letting it marinate with me this weekend, and after some very encouraging emails, I will be silent no more.

Like most people, I’d like to think of myself as open minded. I’m a rather “pc” person. In my house, my rules, certain words aren’t spoken. But in your house, your rules, say what you want. I don’t like it when people try to tell me what to do, and therefore I don’t think I have any right to tell others what to do. So what follows is not me trying to make the world fit my beliefs; I wanted to voice my opinion.

By now most people are aware of the Ask Vic column titled, “Women Say the Darndest Things” that appeared two weeks ago at packers.com. Vic Ketchman, the Packers blogger, writes his Ask Vic column multiple times a week and answers questions from Packer fans around the globe. Vic’s style from the start has been truly his own. He is knowledgeable, but he is also abrasive. With a rather dry sense of humor many of his quips can come off short or condescending. His columns never really appealed to me for that reason. I can make myself feel stupid on my own; I don’t need anyone’s help. His Women Say the Darndest things column wasn’t much different from his daily repertoire except that he only took published questions from women. I probably would have never even known about this column, if it wasn’t for following @packers on twitter. They tweeted the title; I was surprised.

So I followed the link and read the blog. It was in his same style. A couple of his attempts at humor that didn’t sit well with me, but my real problem was with the title. Yes, I have seen Kids Say the Darndest Things. It was a funny show. It was funny because the host, Crosby or Linkletter, would ask kids questions and the kids would give a funny answer because they didn’t know any better, and we would all laugh. I found this montage on YouTube this morning. Hysterical TV, but let’s be honest, it’s because the kids don’t know any better, not because we’re actually taking the time to listen to their concerns or because we think they know what they’re talking about.

So when I saw the title of the blog, my first thought wasn’t, as some commenters have believed it should have been, “Thank you so much for paying attention to little ol’ me over here.” My reaction was, “I’m not a child. And I really don’t say the darndest things.

So I went to the comments sections and put, "what an awful name for a post! women say the darndest things? Reads sexist.” That’s it. I feel that comment to be fair. To me, a female avid sports fan, who feels like I fight daily to get people to take me seriously, that title read as sexist. Are the Packers sexist? No. Is Vic sexist? I don’t know him. But the title offended me.

What followed was pretty typical for blog comments. Myself and fellow upset females were berated by commenters. Enough people disliked my original comment that it was removed from the website. (The process for removing the comment was made clear to me in a letter from the Packers which I will address later).

I felt miserable that day. Dragged over coals for having an opinion. It has always been my belief that I am really in no place to tell someone else if something did or did not offend them. Like beauty, pain and offense is also in the eye of the beholder. It is formed from your experiences, and is not the same for everyone. In my mind, I had said my peace and thought that would be it.

It wasn’t though. For the next couple of days, Vic continued to answer questions regarding the fall out. Most of them painting me, and anyone who took issue with the title or column, in a very negative light. I still sat on my hands and hoped the whole thing would just stop. On September 6th, a full week after the original column, without continual commenting from me or any of the women that I know who were offended Vic received, published and responded to this question:

I read that Aaron Rodgers actually received hate mail after Favre left and some have been less than kind to you. Can we assume these people are Bears or Vikings fans and should they be asked to step up and admit it, so they are not confused with true fans?

Bears fans and Vikings fans say the darndest things.

Now not only was my simple opinion being dismissed, it was being mocked. It hurt. To be completely honest, it hurt a lot. I love the Packers. I love the Packers a lot. I love the Packers like they are extended members of my family. To feel that because I had a differing and valid opinion that my loyalty was questioned, mocked and dismissed stung in a way that I cannot fully describe. So instead of starting another comment war, as if you are a Vic reader you probably had noticed that during the time since the “Women…” article that comments have been more than unkind, and a hostile place. I decided to take my cause up with the Packers organization themselves.

What follows is my letter to them, in its entirety. Note, not once did I ask for Vic to be fired, or resort to name calling or quick one liners. I simply wanted my opinion actually heard and registered. And for the jabs at me and other women who were offended to cease.

 

September 6, 2011

 

Dear My Green Bay Packers:

 

My name is Jayme Joers and I, like many people who I’m sure write you daily, am a lifelong, die hard Packers fan. I don’t remember a time in my life when my world wasn’t consumed with the Packers; childhood family memories merge into Packers games in my head.

I was one of the people who took issue with the recent title of an Ask Vic blog, “Women say the darndest thing.” I feel my concern was valid, and I commented on his blog that I did not like the title and that it reads sexist. I feel that comment is fair and just, yet that comment was deleted and somehow I have become the butt of jokes on his blogs, and your site. And that pains me.

It has now turned from a small issue with the title of that column, to an almost daily joke. A fan will write in mocking mine and other readers concerns and Vic will reply in kind. The most recent being comparing myself and others to Bears and Vikings fans – since we obviously can’t love the Packers because we had a problem with a blog title. To which Vic responded “Bears and Vikings fans say the darndest things.” What a slap in the face!

The Packers have always been a unique organization and it honestly saddens me that I no longer feel welcomed at the Packers website nor appreciated as a fan. Do I have to blindly love everything written to be appreciated as a fan? Do I have to forgo any of my beliefs of equality and equal representation to be a true fan? I hope not.

I don’t believe Vic needed to do a “Ladies Day” column, why should he? We’re all fans. The Packers have perhaps the most dedicated and intelligent fan base in all of the NFL, and now I feel that the website is laughing at me and mocking me. That is not the Packers organization that I grew up loving, that I have spent thousands of dollars to support, and that I myself blog about. The simple reaction that I should have been grateful that Vic took the time to acknowledge women fans and should have overlooked him comparing women to children is not acceptable in this day and age.

Vic and fans had a right to respond to my comment, but when is enough enough? How many more times do I have to go to Packers.com for information on my team to read that I do not love my team and that I am unintelligent, etc. These might not be Vic’s statements but by continuing to answer questions regarding the issue and how we’re not true fans or were out of line, he is continuing to alienate myself and other fans.

I love the Packers honestly more than I like some of the people in my life. It pains me when someone tries to change that. I thought if I just let it go it would be okay, but it was made clear to me in today’s Ask Vic, that I am not welcome at packers.com. I am asking for this to change. I am asking to be allowed to be a fan and support my team. I am asking to be appreciated for my support and fandom.

Thank you.

 

I will let you be the judge of my letter. I felt it was honest, concise and stated my opinion well.

Last week Friday, the 9th, I received an email back from the Director of the Packers Media Group and Vic’s boss. I will not post the entirety of the email here, as I didn’t not alert the sender that publishing their email was a possibility. I will say that they did explain the reason for the removal of my comments and said that it was an NFL platform and that they would work to republish the removed comments. I do not agree with the policy that allows readers to remove other people’s comments, but at least it was an explanation.

As for my other concerns they largely went unaddressed. It was explained to me that the intent was not to harm anyone, but was a play on words. Which lets be real here, I already knew that.

I felt deflated after the email. And spent most of Friday night and Saturday away from twitter and Packers talk for that reason. Like I said earlier, I received some very encouraging emails from people who were aware of my original letter and the response.

What I have found is that my concern was largely ignored. If they want to stand by company line and say that the title is not offensive (which I don’t believe it is solely up to them to judge), that’s their prerogative, but I do sincerely wish they would have addressed why the women who took offense were allowed to be continually mocked with in his posts.

Yes the Packers are more than Vic’s blog, and yes I can visit the site and never have to read his column again. But the issue itself and lack of a full response has me hurting. This team is a part of me. And now that connection feels worn a little thin.

I will not stop cheering for the team, but I will say that this whole experienced open my eyes a lot.

Like I said at the beginning, I don’t like to be the center of attention or the poster child for anything. I have said my piece, I have shared it with you, and now I wish to end it. I am not fighting just for fighting’s sake.

This morning I purchased my plane tickets to Green Bay for the Rams game and hope from here on out to direct all my Packers thoughts to the glory of being undefeated and trying to put the hurtin’ on Cam Newton.

Thanks for reading.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (23) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

snowpack's picture

Understand why it bothers you, sexism should be a thing of the past. Problem is insecurities can cause one to belittle others to make themself feel more important. Truth is Vic offers no real insight into the Packers or football in general. He writes simplistic answers that even the casual fan could write. If you want information on the team follow JS online or GBPG and of course cheeseheadtv. Packers.com has taken a huge step backward this year. Except for the lockeroom videos it has become almost irrelevant. Look forward to more articles from you.

vik

Lynn Dickey 12's picture

Jayme, you were spot on with your observations and comments. Vic is pretty full of himself.

The NFL in general seems to be slow in coming to grips with having female fans. (I'm half surprised they didn't give you a condecending pat on the head and send you one of those hideous pink jerseys for your trouble.)

Now cheer up. I hope you're feeling better for the Rams game than you were at the Rodeway Inn. Have a good time!

Jayme Snowden's picture

ha ha ha!!

Annie Hellmich's picture

While I agree with Jayme, I DO like the pink jerseys ;)

Sheila's picture

hahaha

Farah's picture

I honestly had no clue what was going on til I read this. But I appreciate you standing up for female fans everywhere with this column. Vic's column itself maybe could be excused as just an attempt to be funny that failed miserably. But the subsequent action by other fans and Vic, as you've described it here (and I've read some of the comments now), is completely out of line. But, if you've spent time growing up or working in Green Bay...or, lets be honest, most anywhere else...its not as unexpected as you'd hope.

Fact is, it sometimes threatens their "manhood" to think about a woman understanding football better than they do (and many of us do...). And most of them will assume, until proven otherwise, that you can't keep up. Now, some of those questions were lame in a football operations sense, but those women clearly felt it important enough to ask. And that's okay too. The overall point is that they should be mindful that what they say can be viewed as disrespectful, and they shouldn't blow it off when its called out.

Jason W.'s picture

Im confused about this whole thing...Not a Packers fan and this is the first I've heard of this issue.

What exactly are you upset about? Is it that you made a comment and people bashed you for having an opinion? That you are now the "butt of jokes?"

Jayme Snowden's picture

Jason,
No, commenters are one thing.
The title was sexist.
And then for at least two other, maybe three, I'd have to go back and check, Vic published questions from readers belittling our concern and mocking us.
Another commenter having an opinion and stating it, however eloquently or a "stereotypical one liner", is just another person like me. When it comes from the blog and packers.com it is something else.

Brandon's picture

Vic's title shows an old school attitude that is out of touch with today's fans. I don't know if that's really his attitude, or if it was just a failed title joke. Gender isn't a relevant distinction about fans.

Jer's picture

I suspect that's really his attitude, based on how he's responded to the backlash. I think he feels women fans all sit in the back of the room chatting with their girlfriends, occassionally bothering their husbands with questions like "what does that yellow line on the field mean".

Jer's picture

I thought your letter was excellent, Jayme. I read "Ask Vic" every day and I kind of rolled my eyes when he announced a Ladies Day. Why not just take the best/most common questions regardless of who asks them? But, ok.

But even though I'm a guy I cringed instantly when that title popped up on twitter. I do remember that show when Bill Cosby was doing it. Listen to the funny and silly thing those kids say, right?

So yeah, that title was very condescending.

My rationalization was that he was trying to think of a clever title that was a little more original than "ladies day" and that's the first thing he thought of. I figured he'd realize his mistake and apologize the next day, but as you say, he really went in the other direction and made light of it.

Sadly, the comments at the bottom were fairly predictable. For some reason internet comments sections are filled with people like that. But I really expected more from Vic and the Packers organization.

Kendra's picture

I’m glad you wrote this. It’s interesting to get your perspective and I admire you for taking the initiative to make your feelings known. As a woman, I feel like I often struggle with issues like this. When am I being too sensitive and when should I just let it go?

When I read the column, I didn’t think much of the title. I took it, as Vic explained after the complaints in the comments, as a play on words. I didn’t read into it and even after reading the debate, I still don’t think I do. That’s not to say that those who do are wrong, it’s just that it personally struck me more as tone deaf than intending some deeper meaning. I find that when women write in during his regular columns, he is no more or less caustic with them as he with anyone else who submits a question so it’s probably why I gave him leeway there.

Even though I didn’t take issue with the title, I did take some issue with the content. Vic’s column is usually a mix of solid football questions and “explain to me…” The Ladies’ Day column questions all seemed to be “explain to me…” type questions. As I’ve said, I’ve seen women write in better questions that he answers on a daily basis yet a day ‘dedicated’ to female fans, this is the best they got?

I’m sorry you feel so disheartened by this experience but I’m glad you shared it. I do think it's an important discussion to have.

Ryan's picture

Ok I know I will be in the minority here, and I am prepared for it.

Let me start off by saying I am in the "Women-Will-Rule-The-World-In-100-Years" crowd. I truly believe it will happen, and it does not bother me.

That being said, I read this blog page on it first, and then read Vic's actual post, and I did not find it sexist at all. I think his title was a poor attempt at humor, but the post itself did not contain any belittling of women at all. I thought women asked very well thought out questions, and he answered them to the best of his ability.(That doesn't mean he is a good writer though lol)

Anyway, the 4th to last question on Vic's blog, a woman named Courtney from Butte, MT askes him a question, and his first sentence in reply is, "Early in life, I was able to recognize that I possessed limited intelligence." That right there should tell you all you need to know, and that you shouldn't let him get under your skin...you could probably write a better blog on packers.com than him, and we all know it.

Spiderpack`'s picture

Ok let's see . . . ok let's write a post on CHTV (or anywhere) titled "White People Say the Darndest Things" or "Black People Say the Darndest Things," or "Mexicans Say the Darndest Things,"(my step-Mom's from Latin America BTW), and then let's have a "special" day where certain races of Americans can post questions that they might "need" answers for, because that slated population of our blog followers have a "deficiency" based on some racist stereotype. And then lets have Nagler, CD, and the boys select questions that were emailed to them, and willingly write a response that "pokes fun" (as you so kindly put it Jayme) at whichever particular racial group, and continue selecting/posting for the next week or two. Set this way, Vic's actions can be seen as HORRENDOUSLY SEXIST. Its an abomination. Jayme, my best wishes you can forget all about it ASAP.

calipackfan's picture

haha mexicans say the darnest things hahaha. It would be funny and I'm mexican.

Don Hutson's picture

"Jews say the darndest things." I'm jewish, that might not be so cute. Why is it OK to play on a steriotype of a gender group especially when the blogger is outside that group? It isn't! It is crude and reinforces the male perception that females and their opinions can be trivialized and relegated to a subordinate status. The Packer organization should actively and quickly dissasociate themselves from this sort of stuff.

dullgeek's picture

First heard of the Vic Ketchman kerfuffle on Packers Transplants last night. And I find myself agreeing with Corey. The only difference is this: if Vic were writing things of consequence, I'd probably have already read his stuff. But before last night, I never had. I simply never see him referenced on any of the Packers blogs that I follow. Now I have a reason to avoid him.

Corey & Aaron provide about as much condescension towards fellow packer fans as I can take. Vic is right out.

foundinidaho's picture

Dullgeek, you just made me shout with laughter. Spot on.

WisconsInExike's picture

This story bums me out. On behalf of decent guys everyone, I apologize that one of our dooshes slipped out of his cave. I can only say that Green Bay, the town, is not so much progressive. On top of that, Vic is more of a throwback than the Packers's blue and gold jerseys. It's important to keep up the pressure on the Packers organization to step its game. Ask Vic was a huge step backward. He offends *my* intelligence. The tone deaf, good-ole-boy attitude in Green Bay is what led to the dark decades (just read Bob Harlan's book). I love the Packers dearly, but their PR and fan relations have a long way to go. Surprised they haven't called Ari Fleishman yet. Thanks for sharing, and just know that for every ahole that comments, there are 1000+ others who just don't want to feed the trolls.

Jeff's picture

I'm sorry, people have to stop being offended by the little things. Its seriously neutering us as a culture. There are plenty of 'men say the darndest things' articles on the internet as well.

Benny Friis's picture

I really don't get why Vic wouldn't apologize to Jayme in the first place.

When you hurt/offend someone, why not apologize to them instead of mocking them? What would you lose? Respect? Not really - actually in my eyes you gain respect.

The same thing when making mistakes. Admitting it - you don't lose anything, but I respect people for standing up and admitting having screwed up. But being stubborn and denying it makes you lose respect. Big time.

Same thing with Vic here. He loses respect. Big time.

In my eyes he would look like a bigger man apologizing.

But not only does he not apologize. By deleting Jayme's comment and mocking her, he just looks like a very small individual - a downright jerk to me.

Just my 0.05$

/Benny aka nunobow

PS! Who is to judge, what the "little things" and "not so little things" are? Some things may seem like "little things" to some people - but mean a lot to others. Wouldn't it be OK to let people decide for themselves what's important for them and what's not?

Greg's picture

Jayme, not only are you spot on, but someone needs to let this dinosaur Vic know that the fastest growing NFL fan type is women.

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