You probably first knew Steve Wilkos as Jerry Springer’s bodyguard and director of security on The Jerry Springer Show, where he worked from 1994 to 2007. And now you probably know him from The Steve Wilkos Show, which he has hosted since 2007.
But did you know that Wilkos, 50, is from Chicago and a huge Cubs and Bears fan? In fact, Wilkos was at Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS – the night of the Steve Bartman incident.
Wilkos, unlike many Cubs fans, has no ill-will for Bartman, who attempted to catch a foul ball that Cubs left-fielder Moises Alou potentially could have caught.
“Listen, I’m the biggest Cubs fan in the world,” Steve Wilkos said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I was at that game – probably exact opposite in the stadium (along the right-field line). Right on the wall just like him. Those are my season tickets. I feel bad for this guy because if a foul ball’s coming toward me, what are you supposed to do? It wasn’t like he reached out over the wall.
“And everybody forgets Alex Gonzalez,” Wilkos continued. “The next play – routine ground ball double play – and he booted it. And Dusty Baker sat in the dugout, didn’t do anything and that was the ball game.
“I can’t blame (Bartman). The shortstop – he’s making $6 million. That’s the guy who’s got to catch the ball.”
Interestingly enough, Wilkos was a Marine from 1982 to 1989 and joined the Chicago Police Department in 1990. He was asked about the behavior of professional athletes and why so many seem to run afoul of the law.
“I think a lot of athletes, especially star athletes, they’re babied along the way,” Wilkos said. “They get away with things that most people aren’t going to get away with. They’re protected. People idolize them. So I think when you’re a young guy and you’re making a lot of money and nobody’s ever told you no, I think you cross lines that most people wouldn’t – because you have been babied. Up until this last year, if you’re a star athlete, nothing ever happens to you. Now this last year, the culture has changed a little bit where now they’re dropping the hammer on these guys.”
Many athletes, of course, never encounter legal issues. Some of them are actually really great people. But others, well, not so much.
Case in point: Jay Cutler.
“You know what?” Wilkos asked. “I’ve never seen more of a sourpuss in my whole life. You’re an NFL starting quarterback, you’re making like $17-18 million a year, your wife (Kristin Cavallari) is smoking hot. What are you not happy about here? I make a lot less money, my wife’s really good-looking – but she’s much older than Jay’s wife – and I’m super happy.”
Asked which team – Cubs or Bears – he’d rather see win a championship, Wilkos didn’t hesitate.
“Cubs,” he said. “It’s not even close. The ’85 Super Bowl year was fantastic. But if the Cubs ever did win a World Series, I would not want to be in Chicago – because they’re going to rip (that city apart).”