Rocky Wirtz: Analysis of a PR Dumpster Fire


The setting here is important- this was a town hall with the media before a nationally televised Blackhawks game on TNT.

This is the same TNT program that includes Wayne Gretzky, but more on that later.

Now before we get into his response, it’s important to understand how much of a softball question this was from the press. The Blackhawks organization undoubtedly has been working hard behind the scenes to put processes in place to eliminate opportunities for assault.

We’re not going to talk about Kyle Beach.” Rocky Wirtz

So did Rocky describe the changes that were made? Did he take the opportunity in represent an original six franchise well?














The elitist owner shows his true colors once again

No, he didn’t. In fact, he became a caricature of an entitled, elitist owner. His first mistake was in being defensive and surprised that the topic was even brought up. Hey bud- you don’t think you’re going to get that question?

A tragedy happened under your watch that unfolded in the public space. People are interested! Now after you’ve had time to correct things in your organization, you address the public. That is not the place to shoot from the hip.

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Rocky continued by bringing up the victim again, then said he wasn’t going to talk about the victim, and he wasn’t going to talk about 2010. His son (the CEO) tried to interject with a lifeline and answer the question.

Rocky rejected the help, and dug his heels into an argument he created all on his own, further stating that it’s “none of your business.” After a member of the Chicago Tribune asked a similar question, Rocky took a personal attack at their sports page and the reporting of scores.

Yikes. The whole exchange was concerning. Wayne Gretzky thought so too, as he mentioned during a break at the TNT studio.

























If the topic weren’t so disturbing, the whole ordeal would be hilarious. Unfortunately, the heated exchange between multiple members of the the press and Rocky wasn’t about anything on the ice, like their current search for a GM. It was about rape.

How dare you expect an explanation, let alone an apology?

Rocky’s frustration conveyed a lack of accountability and remorse for a situation he oversaw, and it’s absurd that he took the question personally. I could continue to outline what he said but you get the gist, because we see it all the time.

When something bad happens in someone’s little kingdom, the king goes into protection mode. Everyone outside the kingdom is a threat, and will be treated as such.

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I don’t know that there’s a perfect way to handle such situations, but Theo Epstein navigated the Cub’s off-field scandal with Addison Russell very well.

The man took the podium for a thorough account of what he and the Cubs organization did to help reconcile a domestic abuse situation.

When you watched and listened to Theo, you were absolutely certain that he put in the time to work with experts and put a real plan together for everyone involved. He didn’t treat the organization like his kingdom, he treated it like a family.

I don’t know Rocky, so I won’t judge the man. But I do know toxic organizations after being a part of a few, and their leaders sound a lot like Rocky did when things aren’t going well. And to think- this was in a town hall. What’s going on behind closed doors?

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