There is something very sad when it comes to our favorite sports stars and scandals: people, based on whether or not they love that person as a player, start to make judgments about their personal lives and can skew the public view any which on a situation that they know nothing about.
This unfortunately happens a lot in the sports world, and regrettably it seems that nothing can be done that makes it any easier for the players or the fans. The Chicago Blackhawks are dealing with a very sensitive case of this nature currently with one of the biggest stars, right winger Patrick Kane.
Kane signed with the Blackhawks in 2007 with a three-year contract and soon became a star as the Blackhawks began their rise from complete irrelevance to what some are calling a “modern-day dynasty” franchise. His game-winning goal in the 2010 Stanley Cup final against the Flyers signified the team’s rise, and with Kane’s help, the team has won three Stanley Cups in six years, in 2010, 2013 and 2015.
Kane was also a team member for the United States Men’s Ice Hockey team for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, where the team won silver. In the summer of 2014, Kane and teammate, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, both signed an eight-year contract with the Blackhawks, reportedly both worth $84 million. It is safe to say that Kane has a big impact on the Chicago team, and that general manager Stan Bowman sees him as a lasting player on the roster.
However, none of this matters in the public eye as of now. Currently, all that anyone can talk about regarding Patrick Kane is the ongoing investigation in his hometown of Buffalo, N.Y., where the police are investigating claims of sexual assault against the player.
This is a difficult issue to handle for many reasons, there are fans that are die-hard and refuse to believe that their beloved star player could do anything wrong and who are quick to delegitimize the claims of the woman, but on the other hand, should the claims be true, the Blackhawks could be faced with a difficult decision on their part in regarding what steps to take. It would also be a big blow for the image of the franchise, which has rarely had incidents such as these, as well as for the fans and the city.
The problem with speculation in this case is that it does no good. No charges have been made, but there has been no release of new information either. The only recent update on the situation is that Kane is on the roster for the Blackhawks training camp, but there is no news regarding the investigation or the hearing, which was to take place earlier this month, but has been indefinitely postponed.
Earlier, it was reported that DNA tests taken from a rape kit conducted on the woman showed no trace of Kane’s DNA on the woman, but authorities are still examining other evidence to try and determine what exactly transpired. But in a society where rape has become a forefront issue, there is a big woman making the claims against Kane.
Without the facts, it is not ethical to persecute and invalidate a woman’s claims just because they happen to be against your favorite hockey player. We cannot defend Kane’s moral compass because we do not know him personally and we cannot vouch for him based off of our enjoyment of watching him on the ice. That being saId, the other version of this story, which would be equally tragic, is the possibility that this young woman is using Kane’s celebrity to perhaps benefit herself financially, in which case this ongoing investigation is bringing unnecessary distress to Kane, his family, his girlfriend (who has oddly been left out of multiple reports on the matter) and the organization.
At a news conference this past Thursday, Kane addressed the media, looking understandably stressed, “This has been an incredibly difficult time for many people,” Kane said. “I cannot apologize enough for the distraction this has caused my family, my teammates, this incredible organization, and of course, our fans. While I have too much respect for the legal process to comment on an on-going matter, I am confident, that once all the facts are brought to light, I will be absolved of having done nothing wrong.”
The worst part about this whole situation is that it is a developing story and us as observers, as well as the media, do not have any of the facts and since it is a private matter, we will never really know what occurred. The best that we can hope for is that Kane is innocent of these charges and proven so. In these kinds of situations it’s basically impossible to come out unscathed, as it unfortunately sets in a permanent cloud of doubt on everyone involved.