Every year when the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin I think of something that happened to me back in 1997. I was interviewing Detroit Police Chief Ike McKinnon live on the air when I firmly inserted my foot into my mouth and bit down. It’s a good thing he’s such a good guy and has such a good sense or humor!
Spring of 1997 was an absolutely magical time in the Motor City. Our Detroit Red Wings were red hot and their chances seemed good at winning their first Stanley Cup since the 1954-1955 season. And course they did go on to win the cup.
This city was extremely hungry to get the Stanley Cup returned. From our 6th story broadcast studio, I counted 226 Red Wings “window flags” sticking out from car windows in our parking lot alone that year. And course there were thousands on the streets. And when it became apparent that we had a good chance to win it in 4 straight over the Flyers, folks were sticking brooms out of their car windows as in “sweep!”
I had struck up a great relationship with the Detroit Police Chief at the time, Ike McKinnon, and he was a frequent on-air visitor. Our listeners just loved him!
The night before Ike’s visit I was watching TV news and there was a big uproar downtown at the Spirit of Detroit. The city had draped a huge Red Wings jersey over the figure and hundreds of people were gathering to admire it and have their pictures taken in front of it. But the reporter said that somebody had ordered that the jersey be removed. That ticked a lot of people off.
So I’m interviewing Ike live on the air and said to him: “Hey Chief, I saw on TV last night that somebody ordered that the Red Wings jersey be removed from the Spirit of Detroit. Who was the moron who made that decision?” Ike started to chuckle out loud and said: “Well Bob, I’m the moron who ordered that the jersey be removed!” With blush in my voice I apologized and then the Chief explained his decision. He said: “Bob, the reason I issued that order is that we had not yet assigned a security detail down there and kids were starting to try and climb the statue and we were afraid that somebody would get hurt and we don’t want that. But the jersey is going back up today and we’ll have people watching to make sure everybody’s safe.”
Ike McKinnon is one of the most sincere and nicest people I’ve ever met. During his numerous visits to our studios I tried like heck to get him to run for Mayor of Detroit because he would be sensational. But he always told me he was very content with his life.
Ike continues to be extremely active. He is a motivational speaker, an author and teaches at UD-Mercy. He also consults with various police departments around the nation and has even helped the Department of Homeland Security.