Some wonder how transparent the Chicago Blackhawks really are after the team owner had an explosive response to media questions during a live town hall with executives on Wednesday.
The town hall consisted of Chairman Rocky Wirtz, CEO Danny Wirtz and President of Business Operations Jaime Faulkner.
When reporters in the room began asking about the team’s future after last year’s sexual assault scandal involving Kyle Beach’s mishandled sexual assault allegations against the former video coach , Brad Aldrich, Rocky Wirtz was visibly bothered by the question.
“We’re not going to talk about what happened,” Rocky Wirtz said. “We’re moving on. That’s my answer. Now what’s your next question?”
At one point, Wirtz’s son, who is the team’s CEO, tried to interrupt him in an attempt to answer the reporter’s question, but Danny Wirtz was cut off mid-sentence by his father.
“No, it’s none of your business. It’s none of your business,” Rocky Wirtz said. “We’re not going to talk about Kyle Beach.”
Another reporter fired back at Rocky Wirtz, calling out the team owner for standing up to the question after promising more transparency following the damning report into the allegations last October.
“I answered it and told you to get off topic,” Rocky Wirtz said.
Rocky Wirtz later apologized for his response.
“Tonight at Chicago Blackhawks Town Hall, my answer to two questions crossed the line. I want to apologize to the fans and reporters, and I regret that my answer overshadowed the great work what is this organization doing to move forward,” Wirtz said. “We have the right leaders and the right processes in place to create a safe environment for our employees and our players.”
Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation executive director Kaethe Morris Hoffer said that while the video was painful to watch, it is “useful”.
“It was a live demonstration of what every survivor fears,” Hoffer said. “[It was] very helpful for so many people to see how many times the real discomfort people have in addressing and dealing with these issues.”
Hoffer said it was important for reporters and others to continue asking tough questions.
“Demonstrating that it has learned from the past is critical for any organization,” Hoffer said. “He must be able to talk about the past. It is never convincing that an entity, group or individual has learned important lessons from the past if he cannot speak openly about those lessons.”
But Hoffer suggests staying away from a “cancel culture” mentality to bring about real change.
“The rest of us have to accept that changing cultures isn’t easy,” Hoffer said. “So we have to be patient and give each other grace.”
Kyle Beach’s attorney declined to comment on this incident.