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Oliver: Sports reporter’s firing reeks of hypocrisy

The Blackhawks truly have had a tremendous amount of success this season.

Perhaps when it is all over, the organization will have the chance to hoist the Stanley Cup again. They can add it to a franchise record winning streak and the Presidents’ Trophy for the league’s best record.

Compared with all the good that is going on, it could be easy to dismiss the firing of Comcast SportsNet reporter Susannah Collins as nothing more than a blip.

Yet the firing, reportedly called for by Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz in a letter to CSN Chicago’s brass, should be seen as a black mark on an otherwise stellar run.

On April 30, as Collins was providing analysis of the team during an intermission, she tried to say the team had had a “tremendous amount of success” this season.

In a bit of a comical Freudian slip, she said “sex” instead of “success.”

To her credit, she noticed the flub, corrected the mistake and just kept rolling.

Unfortunately, the error went viral on social media and caused a stir.

At no time did Collins act unprofessionally. Not that day and certainly not since she was hired in September.

But by Friday, she was out of a job.

CSN, in announcing the firing, said that it was “due to circumstances unrelated to her on-air remarks Tuesday night.”

That’s a relief because that just might have been the dumbest reason for being fired that I’ve heard in a while.

Of course, the “real” reason isn’t much better.

Back in 2009, Collins and a friend taped a series of sports-themed videos called “Sports Nutz” that were uploaded to YouTube. The reportedly raunchy episodes aim for a lowbrow humor that’s popular with the crowd at which they are aimed. 

They did, however, get Collins noticed by a producer of “Inside the NFL,” she said in an interview with ChicagoNow.com. That led to a job and ultimately led her to CSN.

That recent interview apparently got the attention of the Blackhawks.

It’s hard to believe CSN didn’t know about the videos when they hired Collins.

And if they didn’t know, the network needs to do better background checks.

None of the videos were made when she was affiliated in any way with the Blackhawks. They seriously think Collins’ past is going to reflect poorly on them now? Really?

And isn’t it a bit hypocritical for the Blackhawks to be worried about little-seen videos made years ago by the “Shoot the Puck” contest host when one of the team’s own ambassadors has been charged with domestic violence?

And how about CSN? Isn’t it a little hypocritical to fire Collins and only suspend a Bulls analyst after he was involved in a physical altercation with a colleague?

If nothing else, the takeaway here for all of us is that with social media, the past can and will come back to bite those naïve enough to upload questionable videos, photos, etc.

Too bad Collins had to learn that lesson the hard way.

And as for CSN and the Blackhawks, this is a heavy-handed way to deal with something that probably would have gone away on its own.

Now it’s just an example of a tremendous amount of nonsense.

• Joan Oliver is the assistant news editor for the Northwest Herald. She can be reached at 815-526-4552 or by email at joliver@shawmedia.com.

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