Jim O'Donnell: Is Rocky Wirtz battling to cleanse his conscience?

SO ROCKY WIRTZ PLAYED to pedigree this week.

And now elements of the Chicago sports media are all lathered up in some kind of Fort Courage victory dance.

A very wealthy man with a lineage noted for peevishness and imperiousness came across in an ad-lib setting as peevish and imperious.

Wow — what a surprise.

Wirtz also embarrassed his son and the organization and the National Hockey League.

Maybe it was the launch of a new sitcom — “The Adventures of Rocky and Dan-Winkle.”

(That trick never works.)

But what sort of media “victory” was it?

DOES THE FAMILY NOW have to resign from The Billionaires Club?

For optics, might W. Rockwell have to change his Blackhawks title to “chairman emeritus?”

Does he lose parking privileges inside the United Center until Valentine's Day?

Will former journalist Bryan Smith have to retool the 2018 hagiography “The Break Away” into something more brutishly real?

Doubt it, doubt it, doubt it and doubt it.

WIRTZ CAME ACROSS in those flash moments as “an important man” with something he would rather not reopen.

He also brought crashing back to center stage the fact a multitude of questions remain unanswered since the Blackhawks sex abuse scandal hit critical mass.

Among them:

• What possible benefit accrued to John McDonough by not immediately informing Wirtz of the troubling allegations about Brad Aldrich discussed at that most curious executive staff meeting of May 23, 2010?;

• If scores of people around the Blackhawks and the league were aware of Aldrich's alleged actions shortly thereafter, how could the control-schooled Wirtz not know about them for close to a full decade?;

• With the proud McDonough's reputation torn to shreds, what's keeping him so mum on the narrative?

FOR NOW, THE LIST can stop there.

There are many other cracks and crevices that remain. That despite the somber theatrics of attorney Reid Schar, the voice of Jenner & Block after its paint-by-agenda “independent investigation.”

Some very good people have had their names tarnished and careers blown away by what legally started out as a he said/he said encounter.

ROCKY WIRTZ WASN'T ONE of them. He instead has been positioned as lord high judge, miraculously layered away from sordid facts.

After Wednesday night, if Wirtz is indeed not his father's moral heir — as “The Break Away” strained to imply — perhaps he's having a change of conscience.

Or else he can live out his fabulously wealthy life as a man star-crossed from birth, dismissible as one simply destined by fate to play to pedigree.

STREET-BEATIN': NBC's early coverage of the Beijing Winter Olympics has come across like one extended airing of “The Today Show.” Maybe the addition of kinescopes featuring founding “Today” host Dave Garroway and his amazing chimpanzee J. Fred Muggs would help. (Muggsie had talent.) ...

Here's an encouraging weekend sports media update: No one cares about the NFL's Pro Bowl, the NHL's All-Star Weekend is packing all the zing of a Bobby Flay video tribute and week-away interest in Super Bowl 56 between the Rams and Bengals is wavering between modest and nonexistent. ...

Turner Sports appears all in on the idea of trying to turn Draymond Green into the next Charles Barkley. Good luck with that — it's a new-mill flashback to when NBC envisioned Jay Leno as the next Johnny Carson. ...

Buoyant Daily Herald alum Bob Susnjara gets an unexpected 3.5 seconds of retro fame via the inclusion of an old sports media column zip-by in a WFLD-Channel 32 News promo for Corey McPherrin. The fact Susnjara's column — written for The Waukegan News-Sun — is at least 25 years old speaks volumes about McPherrin's relevancy in local TV news. ...

Bubbling under: Crisp Cassidy Williams of Fox's WITI-TV in Milwaukee. The University of Illinois grad has done some sparkling Packers coverage in recent weeks and beams with the sort of versatility that would be an instant energizer on WGN-Channel 9's morning news. ...

Boutique bookman Rick Kaempfer reports that the updated 2022 “EveryCubEver” (, $30) includes the record 44 players who made their debuts with the Cubs in 2021. (The previous high was 34 new Wigglies in 2013.) ...

Also from the Eckhartz file, Der Bookman said that Jim Baumann's “Grammar Moses” ($20) was the holiday season's bestseller. (Topping even “Catskill Fever: Sam Smith's 100 Funniest Bulls Post-Game Questions.”) Baumann is the executive editor of The Daily Herald. ...

And Minnesota Timberwolves hungry man Anthony Edwards — age 20 — after making media wait following a win over Detroit while he ordered $1 McChickens via mobile app: “I ain't even going to say cheap dude, because I like cars and jewelry. But yeah, cheap dude.”

• Jim O'Donnell's Sports & Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at

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