8:43 PM CDT, May 4, 2013
Susannah Collins ought to thank the Blackhawks. They made her a folk hero, and folk heroes never die.
Neither do the connections to the villains who took them out. Looking at you, Rocky Wirtz.
During a Comcast SportsNet segment, Collins made an on-air slip involving the word “sex.’’ The clip went viral, and then some old, sniggering Sports Nutz internet videos featuring Collins resurfaced.
The videos were snarky. These were not sex tapes. She didn’t get arrested for anything like, say, a cabbie-punching Hawks winger.
But Hawks chairman Rocky Wirtz wrote a letter to Comcast SportsNet declaring he was offended by Collins’ past, which she never hid from the cable channel. Wirtz demanded her removal from Hawks broadcasts.
His overreaction included cc'ing Jerry Reinsdorf and Tom Ricketts, his partners in a majority ownership of the cable channel, which ensured Collins’ expendability.
Wirtz dropped an atom bomb on a lady bug.
He also got bad advice or ignored good advice because he made the wrong strategic decision. Reaction has run virulently against Wirtz’s organ-I-zation. It wasn’t so much about Collins as what was done to her and by whom. It simply seems unfair. Heavy-handed. Overkill.
Didn’t anybody take breath here? Didn’t any of Wirtz’s ace marketers explain the potential stain on the Hawks’ image?
The Hawks should’ve been bigger than this. Instead, they seem small. In trying to protect the precious brand, they blew snot bubbles all over it.
To think, it could’ve been over in a day and fans would've continued counting to 16 playoff wins. But instead there’s anger and head-shaking.
And now there’s mocking. At the risk of someone having to explain Twitter to Wirtz, he should know his letter is already a meme for Cubs fans who want Ricketts to write a letter to CSN demanding Carlos Marmol be taken off their programming.
The big mistake by the Hawks’ usually savvy image-makers was missing the generational divide. The people who knew about Sports Nutz weren’t bothered and were past it. The people who didn’t know about the videos and might’ve been offended never would’ve found them.
Instead, Wirtz told everyone about the videos, and told everyone who the bad guy is.
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