Olin Kreutz talks about incident at CHGO, won’t return to NBC Sports Chicago

The Score, where Kreutz also has worked as an analyst, has yet to determine whether he’ll return. Kreutz had become a media star with his critical analysis of the Bears.

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Olin Kreutz spoke in depth for the first time about the incident with a colleague in May at sports-media startup CHGO that has now cost him two jobs.

Kreutz will not return to NBC Sports Chicago’s Bears postgame show after being fired by CHGO. The former Bears center grabbed Adam Hoge’s neck in response to a flippant remark. Kreutz reached out to Hoge privately but had yet to address the situation publicly.

“I told them obviously I was sorry about the way the situation escalated,” Kreutz told the Sun-Times. “There were some people in their building — obviously, I don’t blame them — that weren’t comfortable with me being there anymore. I have my side of the story of what I thought happened. You could tell by what I put on Twitter what I thought happened there; it just inflamed the situation.”

After CHGO revealed the incident and announced his firing on Twitter, Kreutz responded with a tweet that quoted former boxer Mike Tyson: “Social media made y’all way too comfortable with disrespecting people and not getting punched in the face for it.”

“They thought I took what they were saying out of context,” Kreutz said of the remark. “I like to separate being on air and being off air as two very different things. Banter on air and banter off air is different for me.

“I like to remember the fact that when we walked out — and I don’t want to speak for Adam; he has to speak for himself — we shook hands. Adam actually wanted to continue the podcast. And I said no. I thought my time was done there. I thought that that was enough for me already.

“I know they came out and said they fired me, but I had already decided that my time was up at CHGO just because of some things that I thought were unprofessional in the way they ran their business. That was my decision. And like I told my kids, man, you do something like that, you pay the penalty. You take the punishment, and then you try to become a better person and try to learn from every situation.”

Kreutz had become a media star with his critical analysis of the Bears. He was the go-to guy on NBCSCH’s “Football Aftershow,” providing informed, measured commentary of an organization that has had much to criticize on and off the field in recent years.

“From what [NBCSCH] told me, there are workers in there who are uneasy about me coming in,” Kreutz said. “I said, well, if people don’t feel good about me being there, I obviously don’t want to be there. From my point of view, how could that change? I know this work was fun, but it’s not like I need to be doing analyst work.

“And my question, of course, was, if they’re afraid of me, then you should ask them what they plan on saying to me. Obviously, you don’t ever get an answer for that. I’m with [Alex Brown, Lance Briggs and David Kaplan], and most of the time there’s one or two or three people in there. But they got a job to do as they run a building, and they have to answer to people.

“I made a mistake. I did something that I told my kids that you don’t want to do. And I have to take my punishment. So I’m good with it.”

The Score, where Kreutz also has worked as an analyst, has yet to determine whether he’ll return.

Hoge didn’t require treatment and didn’t file a police report after the incident, which occurred in CHGO’s West Loop office. The company launched March 4.

CHGO posted a statement on Twitter that said, “[A]n incident occurred in which Olin Kreutz physically attacked a CHGO employee. Effective immediately, Olin Kreutz is no longer with CHGO. Although we are shocked by the incident, we are thankful that the employee is okay. The health and safety of our employees is of the utmost importance, and we will not tolerate any action that puts that in jeopardy.”

“I’ve been advised by people smarter than me not to really talk about the situation that happened,” Kreutz said. “I know what came out from CHGO’s side. I guess ‘unfortunate situation’ is the best way you can talk about it. I’d love to tell my whole side of the story, but obviously people have advised me not to talk too much about it.”

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