Just two days after releasing one of the most superb on-air Freudian slips in recent memory, CSN Chicago reporter Susannah Collins is out of a job, having been fired by the network on Thursday.
But if a statement from CSN Chicago vice president and general manager Phil Bedella is to be believed, Collins’ dismissal wasn’t the result of her unfortunate reference to the Chicago Blackhawks’ “tremendous amount of sex” during a live hit after Tuesday night’s playoff win — one she quickly corrected to “tremendous amount of success.”
Instead, Bedella said, Collins’ release was related to “circumstances unrelated to her on-air remarks.”
Could those “circumstances” involve Collins’ prior involvement with Sports Nutz, an online sports comedy show that, to be fair, is a little — or a lot — on the NSFW side? Between June 2009 and April 2010, Collins served as the co-host on 16 episodes of the show, the topics of which included the “Jew Fantasy Draft,” and “Douchebag Nation,” among others. The edgy videos came into the spotlight in the days after the incident.
[UPDATE: A new Chicago Tribune report says sources tell them those very videos "had already set the wheels in motion for Collins’ sudden departure." It also says that Blackhawks and CSN executives were already aware of the videos and considering getting rid of her.]
One certainly could understand if an employer decided not to hire Collins, a 2001 University of Illinois journalism grad, in the first place, using her appearances in these videos as justification for choosing a different direction. (That didn’t stop several other major outlets, including Showtime, MLB.com and NBC, from bringing her on board since the release of the videos, however.)
It could be that CSN Chicago simply wasn’t aware of Collins’ Sports Nutz stint when they hired her in September 2012 — which, if true, would represent a lack of due diligence on the part of CSN Chicago.
It takes little more than a simple online search to dig up Collins’ professional history, and she’s not at all shy about her involvement with the show. Collins’ bio on her own website even speaks of her experience with Sports Nutz, saying it led to some of her later reporting gigs.
Others have suggested that the directive to fire Collins could have come down from someone in CSN Chicago’s ownership group, which, in addition to NBC Universal, includes Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of both the Bulls and White Sox, and Rocky Wirtz, the Blackhawks’ owner and chairman.
That might be the most understandable explanation for a decision to part ways, but it certainly wouldn’t make it the right one.
Whatever the case, Collins’ firing looks like an extreme overreaction — either to an innocent on-air slip-up or a controversial past career stop that was very public knowledge — without a better explanation.