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NHL

Rocky Wirtz Is Unaccountable

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 18: during the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Championship Rally at Soldier Field on June 18, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

All along, the Blackhawks have preached accountability. Accountability is where they went wrong, they say, when they hushed up former minor leaguer Kyle Beach’s 2010 sexual assault by a coach because they didn’t want it to get in the way of a Stanley Cup run. Accountability is the watchword now, they insisted in October when the whole terrible mess was exposed, clearing house of the remaining executives (well, almost all of them) who had been with the organization at the time.

It’s a somber-sounding word. Shows you’re taking things seriously. But what does “accountability” actually look like in practice? In Chicago, it looks like owner Rocky Wirtz not answering questions about the scandal for months, even after the team settled two lawsuits against it, removing any possible excuse for addressing it. Accountability, to Wirtz, also apparently includes fully losing his shit when finally being asked about it.

At a team town hall event on Wednesday, Wirtz loaded his diaper when the Athletic’s Mark Lazerus asked him a pretty simple and important question about trying to make sure there are no more Kyle Beaches.

As Lazerus noted, it was a softball question! Just a meatball served up for Wirtz to tout whatever measures the team has taken to protect its employees going forward, based on hard lessons learned from the past. You know, accountability.

Incredibly, Wirtz wasn’t done. The Tribune‘s Phil Thompson admirably followed up. And Wirtz continued his shitfit. Here’s video of both exchanges.

Not long after, someone stuck Wirtz’s name atop an apology statement, but the damage was done. The damage was done 12 years ago, but the proof that things are irretrievably broken is that the man in charge can’t face a single question about how to fix it without throwing his toys across the room.

Rocky Wirtz is the fortunate failson who avoided that epithet by the sheer awfulness of his father. But the mask came off last night, and revealed a petulant rich boy who can’t handle being respectfully asked about the well-being of his employees, because he’d rather not think about it. This is “accountability”? Chicago did the only fathomable thing when it pushed out those executives who had been involved in the organizational failure, but it didn’t get rid of all of them. I can think of one man who was around then and who is around now, and who in fact is in charge of everything. Real accountability would mean getting that dude the fuck out too.