WARR’s hockey writer Sidney Brown offers his takes from the front lines of Blackhawks fandom
Chicago Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane is in trouble once again. This time its for an alleged rape incident earlier this month that police in the area of his hometown of Buffalo, New York are currently investigating.
Unfortunately, this is the third time Kane has been in some sort of notable trouble away from the ice. Never has he been arrested for any of his acts and as of this publishing he is not in custody for this latest incident. Still, a dark cloud forms over Kane due to these questionable things and not-so-smart situations he’s ended up in.
After the 2012 incident in Madison, Wisconsin where Kane was pictured with local kids having a beer, he was warned by the Blackhawks that he should watch his step and such acts like that will not be tolerated going forward.
During the 2013 lockout, Kane was accompanied by his mother while playing in Switzerland, it seemed that Kane had begun learning from his past mistakes and he was starting to turn his life around. The then two-time Stanley Cup champion had a public image that was improving, but in spite of two more possible years of growth and another title to his credit it seems like the Hawks are back at square one with its most controversial star.
It seems like the real Patrick Kane, the party boy supreme, has returned at the worst time possible.
The Hawks front office, fans, the NHL and, of course Kane himself, are on pins and needles as new reports and possible evidence implicating Kane leaks out into the public, making for either a stronger legal case put on by the New York state authorities as well as more damning details that the court of public opinion will weigh against. The Hawks brass must consider some sort of action whenever final results comes down.
The Meatheads Weigh In
Listening to fans on Chicago sports radio in the days since the Kane news broke has just made me shake my head. As a society we are under-educated when it comes to the subjects of rape and domestic violence in general.
Some people I listened to had the nerve to blame the possible victim for “trapping” Patrick Kane for potential money without knowing very many facts at all regarding the possible encounter at the center of this investigation.
To be fair, there have been times where athletes have been wrongly accused of sexual assault having been targeted due to their fortunes, but whenever a new case arrives it is best to not jump to conclusions until all of the facts are known. That can be too much to ask of some fans who simply allow their passion for the team to fuel them, motivated by their allegiance to the player in the middle of the storm because of his talent on the ice and his helping the Hawks to win three Stanley Cups, but its not the most well-thinking people who confuse a player’s talent with their actions off the playing field.
Am I saying that all players are bad people away from the playing field? That we should only have the lowest expectations for them when in social situations away from the media gaze? No, but just because you think you know a person and have bonded with them through the great moments they’ve provided on the playing field doesn’t mean that you have any idea of their personality and motivations when in private.
Regardless of whether a rape case can be formed against him, Kane is still guilty of putting himself in another situation that only tampers the image not only that he holds for himself, but for his employer.
Commit to the Kaner?
For his recent work off the ice in matching his natural skill on the ice, the Hawks resigned Kane along with team captain Jonathan Toews to contract extensions last summer for 8 years at $10.3 million a year. Until last weekend, in spite of his past transgressions, you could say that Kane’s public persona was living up to his contract. Now, that’s a questionable stance at best.
So what will the Hawks brass do moving forward, having to deal with a great talent that may not be worth the trouble he attracts, or is drawn to? If Kane is exonerated of all charges, the front office would be fine in offering some sort of intervention to Kane which could repair his somewhat uncontrollable vices away from the ice, alcohol being among them.
If Kane is charged, the Hawks must try to remove themselves from him and his situation as quickly as possible, factoring in what’s at stake given the renaissance of this franchise over the past nine years from the bottom of the basement to the top of the NHL mountain. Knowing the Hawks’ brass — president/CEO John McDonough and owner Rocky Wirtz — they actively control the image and message of their franchise and a big part of that is reaching out to the public for good business.
With Kane’s situation unfolding in Buffalo and not in Chicago, the front office can’t exercise the sort of control here that it has in previous incidents such as the Patrick Sharp rumors in March and the ankle injury Corey Crawford suffered due to alleged alcohol consumption at a concert in December of last year.
What do we know about Patrick Kane — the Kaner? Kane is clearly one of the most talented players in the NHL and once of the top box office draws it has, but away from all that there’s a person who has gotten away with youth-like behavior for too long and that has caused his career and the amazing life he’s built for himself to come to a major crossroads.
To the fans out there who can’t let go of their Kaner allegiance — the direction in which Kane will forced down is his to go down alone, it doesn’t say anything about you or the Hawks that he made a mistake — keep that in mind as we learn more about the person who built up the courage to make these allegations.
Follow Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and on Facebook under Regal Radio and Sidney Brown on Twitter @sidkid80