Olin Kreutz talks CHGO accident, won’t return to NBC Sports Chicago

Olin Kreutz is speaking in depth for the first time about the incident with a colleague at sports media startup CHGO since May, which 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 by the neck in response to a flippant remark. Kreutz reached out to Hoge privately but has yet to speak publicly about the situation.

“Obviously I told them I was sorry for the way the situation escalated,” Kreutz told the Sun-Times. “There were some people in their building — obviously, I don’t blame them — who weren’t comfortable with me being there anymore. I have my side of the story of what I thought happened. You can tell by what I posted on Twitter what I thought happened there; just heat up 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 has made you too comfortable 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 the air and being off the air as two very different things. On-air banter and off-air banter are different for me.

“I like to remember the fact that when we came out – and I don’t want to speak for Adam, he has to speak for himself – but we shook hands. Adam actually wanted to continue the podcast. And I said no, I thought my time was up there. I thought that was enough for me.

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

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

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

“And my question, of course, was, if they’re afraid of me, then you have to ask them what they intend to tell me. Obviously you never get an answer to that. I’m with [Alex Brown, Lance Briggs and David Kaplan], and most of the time there are one or two or three people there. But they have a job to do, as they run a building, and they have to answer to the people.

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

The Score, where Kreutz also worked as an analyst, has not yet determined whether he will return.

Hoge did not require treatment and did not file a police report after the incident, which occurred at CHGO’s West Loop office. The company launched on March 4.

CHGO released a statement on Twitter saying: “[A]an incident occurred in which Olin Kreutz physically assaulted a CHGO employee. Effective immediately, Olin Kreutz is no longer with CHGO. While we are shocked by the incident, we are grateful that the employee is OK. The health and safety of our employees is paramount and we will not tolerate any actions that put this at risk.

“I was advised by people smarter than me not to really talk about the situation that happened,” Kreutz said. “I know what came out of the CHGO side. I guess “unfortunate situation” is the best way to talk about it. I would like to tell my whole side of the story, but apparently people have advised me not to talk too much about it.

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