Posting more out of boredom than anything else, so here’s a pretty low-key story when it comes to what’s in the headlines these days. Patrick Kane, a star player on the Chicago Blackhawks, was accused of rape about a month ago. With the NHL regular season less than a month away, we still don’t know if the allegations are true. A hearing is supposed to be held in court soon, and we’ll finally learn what the police investigation uncovered. If it’s indecisive, however, the question remains: what do the Blackhwaks, and the NHL, do with Patrick Kane?
There seem to be two options – either the league denounces Kane, suspends him indefinitely and waits until a verdict is reached, or they assume him to be innocent until proven guilty, and let him play as usual. The arguments for both are strong; the league could show that they’re tough on issues such as this, and suspending him indefinitely would certainly avoid the PR disaster you know is going to ensue if they take the alternative path. If you remember, star defenseman for the LA Kings Slava Voynov was suspended indefintely by the league a couple years ago when allegations of him assaulting his wife came to light. Popular opinion has it that that was the right thing to do, but it’s also important to consider the timely context under which the situation occurred; this was right after Ray Rice was shown assaulting his fiancee came out, and given the tremendous pressure and backlash the NFL was facing, it seems like the NHL did the right thing with Voynov. But should they do the same with Kane?
Although it may be easier to jump to conclusions, we do have to give Kane the benefit of the doubt until something proves us wrong; that is, we must take him to be innocent until proven guilty. It’s the basic right that is given to all citizens, and as such Kane should be no different. If the league opts to do this, there’s no question that the PR mess will be a nightmare at best. Allowing an alleged rapist to continue playing – that line in and of itself already makes it sound ridiculous, doesn’t it?And yet if the league doesn’t let Kane play, it’s painfully clear that they haven’t given him a chance – they’ve already judged him. Quite the dilemna.
Although this technically doesn’t have anything to do with the story, Kane’s history really doesn’t help him much here. He’s been known to act as a spolied brat over the years, and as such the allegations he’s facing seem much more plausible simply because it’s happening to him and not someone else. His antics with partying have been well known for years, with Kane even vowing to remove himself from that lifestyle. And who could forget the infamous scene in which Kane beat a taxi driver because he didn’t have any change? Kane is certainly known to be an ass off the ice, and because of this, the allegations seem much more likely to happen.
Especially given the context of what happened, according to the reports. Kane allegedly got drunk at a bar, took a couple girls home with him, and soon afterwards one of those girls went to the hosptial and had herself admitted for a rape test. Again, we shouldn’t judge here – either Kane could be a rapist or the girl a golddigger, but the fact remains that as of right now, we just don’t know. However, given the rumors that have surfaced, it doesn’t look good for Kane. The victim got herself inspected in a timely fashion, which is something that’s usually missing from rape allegations. It’s pretty much a given that Kane was drunk, and that only adds more doubt on his innocence. EA Sports has pulled him from the cover of their next NHL video game, and a couple other brands have disassociated themselves from Kane, citing that they don’t want to appear to be in business with an alleged rapist. There are stories, though, that claim that the girl was “all over Kane” at the bar, so it really is impossible to say anything yet. We’ll know soon enough.
So, what should be done? In my opinion, the league should suspend Kane indefinitely, and wait for a legal verdict to be reached before proceeding. Yes, it would be more politically correct to assume him innocent and allow him to play, but we must consider the consequences here. If Kane is found innocent, then the league can apologize, and that’ll be the end of it (with Kane being the star he is, there’s no chance of him leaving, and little chance of him suing). However, if Kane is found guilty, the league would instantly be deemed to have done the right thing, to stop this “monster” from playing immediately. Now juxtapose that against him being found guilty during the season, and you have a very ugly situation, where the league allowed a rapist to continue playing. I think this is a no brainer for the league, and for anyone else really; when facing allegations that seem to have considerable merit to them, it’s better to remove the player from the issue until the mess is cleared up. At the very worst, an apology by the league will be required if they were wrong. And at the very best, well, they’ll have put their foot down on domestic violence, and set an example that society should try to follow. A most difficult decision, and one that will probably be made soon. Only time will tell what happens to Patrick Kane.