To Blackhawk fans: Don’t cheer for Patrick Kane

This week the Erie County District Attor­ney announced that no rape charges would be filed against NHL star Patrick Kane after the complainant, 21 years-old, said she was under such tremendous stress that she could no longer cooperate with police. Thus ended a three-month long investigation, launched when the wom­an reported to police that Kane raped her in his home in Hamburg, N.Y. This outcome was utterly predictable to anyone following the case, as the Erie County DA, the former Erie County DA, the former State Attorney General for New York, Chi­cago Tribune columnists, Deadspin, The Buffalo News and innumerable other sources have all insisted since September that the case has “too many questions” to move forward.

But I’m not interested in how many questions arose during the case. I’m honestly, truly, not in­terested in the DA citing Kane’s lack of “conduct consistent with a consciousness of guilt” as a rea­son to withhold charges, something he’d have to be eagle-eyed to notice given that Kane’s been playing in Chicago for most of the investigation.

The details of the investigation don’t matter. His innocence or guilt is not the point. The point is this: Patrick Kane was under investigation for rape and we, the fans, decided it was okay for him to play.

Let’s be clear: Patrick Kane is an important cog in a Stanley Cup winning machine. The Chicago Blackhawks have won three of the last six NHL championships with Kane, where he’s won a Conn Smythe trophy and consistently logged over 20 points a postseason. It’s no stretch to say that there would be a few less banners hanging from the rafters of the United Center if Kane weren’t around, and not so many goose bumps from watching a new one hoisted up.

Winning is fun, right? It’s the goal, it’s why we pay to watch. So the more Kane and the Black­hawks win, the more valuable they become. Forbes reports that the team’s value has increased almost 650 million dollars since signing Kane in 2007. He’s never played for another NHL team. He’s got a No-Movement clause and a 13 million dollar salary, plus all those trophies–Patrick Kane IS Chicago’s boy. Fans and management know he’ll take us where we want to be: the top.

That’s what makes us fans so powerful. Follow­ing the allegations we could have taken that sup­port away. But on the first day of training camp people flocked to the rink at 5 a.m. wearing No. 88 jerseys, cheering defiantly each time he touched the puck. In an article for the Chicago Tribune, one fan said he chose a Kane jersey over one of Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews’ because, while “I have a daughter, so I get the other side of the whole rape thing,” he wanted to show that he’s a “big believer in the Blackhawks organization.” What the hell, man?

Look, fans of any sports franchise need to make a decision about how they want to win. We can’t control the media perpetuating rape culture by hawking the case’s details as excuses for Kane’s playing. We can’t control the police’s relationship with Kane. We can’t make a DA file charges. We certainly can’t pressure victims to act.

What we can do is tell the Blackhawks that this isn’t the culture we “believe” in. I’m not asking anyone to stop being a fan. But rooting for the Blackhawks isn’t the same as rooting for Patrick Kane, and it doesn’t mean excusing shit behavior. Wouldn’t it be better to beat the Flyers knowing we were the good guys? Wouldn’t you rather wear the sweater of a player who’s known for being a joker or a baker or, I dunno, just good at hockey? Wouldn’t you rather imagine the cup in hands that definitely haven’t sexually assaulted someone?

C’mon, all sports fans are competitive assholes. When stuff like this happens, stop wearing your No. 88 jerseys. Don’t cheer for Kane. Skip the games he’s scheduled to play. Don’t watch his videos, don’t listen to his interviews. Write to the Trib and tell them to stuff it. Demand an NHL–de­mand a team–that values the experiences of wom­en. We don’t need a suspected rapist to play good hockey. There’s a better win to be had, here, and we should relish the challenge. And, go Hawks.

33 Comments

  1. If you outright say that you don’t care about the details of the case, you lose all credibility as a voice worth listening to. It’s not an accident that you cited the least significant part of the DA’s statement in this article as insignificant to you- it’s pretty convenient you refuse to mention that there was no evidence whatsoever of penetration, the physical and forensic evidence contradicts the accuser’s claims, and that witnesses in the house and in the bar cannot corroborate the details of the accusation. But discussing these things detracts from your argument, so it’s easy to pick the least compelling reason listed by the DA, which was that his“conduct consistent with a consciousness of guilt.”

    So yes, when you write that “the details of the investigation don’t matter,” you have already lost most sensible readers. The danger of framing this case as one were guilt is likely is also that it sends the wrong message to future victims. It’s telling them that if they report their assault, there will be no physical or forensic evidence to support their claim. That witnesses will not be able to corroborate or will contradict their allegation.. That the DA will make an effort to torpedo their “so-called case” (his words) in a strongly worded press statement. We want women to feel comfortable coming to the police. Continuing to paint Kane as more likely guilty than not does not help anyone, and does not lend credibility to an important issue.

    When things like this happen, it’s to easy to find a whipping boy for a cause and in this case, it is an extremely important cause. There is definitely a discussion to be had about hero worship in sport’s culture and the blind faith people had in Kane when it was unwarranted in the early stages of the investigation. I’ll admit that I thought he was likely guilty early on. Fans certainly could have made it less comfortable for him to play and should have, but the truth is that legally the NHL had little action they could take without a formal charge or arrest without fear of the NHLPA interference. That was not a decision the fans had an impact on.

    Patrick Kane is no longer a suspect in a rape investigation, an extensive 3 month investigation that turned up no credible evidence against him. He has the right to move on with his life. And as to your suggestion that fans avoid games Patrick Kane will be playing in….if you watch the Hawks, you’ll realize that that would be nearly all of them. If a person is uncomfortable cheering for Kane that is fully their right, but don’t presume to tell people that there is only one way to respond. Based on the statement by the DA, I feel comfortable believing that he did not commit the act her was accused of. And, no, that doesn’t make me a terrible woman or a rape apologist or a bad feminist. It means that I can accept that individual circumstances do not always fit the narratives we apply to them.

    • Exactly right. This article seems to imply this would’ve gone to court if woman wanted. What stress is she talking about. Her name is not in the papers. The DA for the most part called her a liar. I hope kane takes her to civil court. This woman was looking to get rich.

  2. Oh my gosh and what if he does happen to be innocent of rape and only guilty of enjoying being 26 years old and a famous hockey player with bad judgement? We may never know. But it’s still ok to sully his name in a news article because he is Patrick Kane who makes lots of money and was investigated for rape and he MIGHT be guilty? Patrick Kane may not be a nice person. Professional sports players seldom are as there is a ruthlessness in every sport competition. But then media people are seldom nice people as well… pondering their self righteousness as they make a living writing about other people’s misfortune. Do you want to be a writer for an audience of followers who mindlessly cheer your opinion… just as those mindless fans cheer Kane? If so then logically I see no difference between you and Kane. But then he was investigated for rape right? And who cares about the facts of investigation. We do not definitely know he is not guilty, right? So your message is punish him just in case he is. Show some mindful thought in your writings. Don’t sensationalize to the largest audience or pander to special interest groups. In all fairness to Kane and the complainant, they both lost. There are no winners in that investigation, just losers. Show some compassion for people’s misfortune, you will be liked for the right reasons.

  3. There is a larger thing a stake here and that is justice. Read the entirely of the DAs press release not just the bit that fits your narrative. There was not sufficient evidence to proceed with even bringing the case to a grand jury – none of the evidence (forensic, physical or witness testimony) supported the accuser’s version of the story. That said, I acknowledge as I have throughout the investigation that no one aside from the two people in the room that night will ever know what really happened. Both of them deserve to be treated with the same degree of respect – and neither of them should be assumed to be lying. I am a woman, a lawyer and a hockey fan and I in no way read the Blackhawks treatment of their employee (uncharged, unindicted and not convicted) as disrespecting the process, the seriousness of the charge or women in general. It is how employees are treated at businesses. It is time to move on. I’ve got a hockey game to go to. And I will be cheering all of the players on the ice.

  4. So what you’re saying is that sexual assault accusations should be stronger than sexual assault itself and the world should ruin Patrick Kane’s career because he was accused of something potentially awful. I can’t help but notice that the only part of the DA’s statement you mentioned was his conscience was not consistent with that of someone with guilt. He also made a lot of statements regarding how the alleged victim’s story didn’t match the forensic evidence and there was no evidence of penetration which is necessary for a rape charge. I refuse to put Patrick Kane on the chopping block because of your personal feelings and there’s a million people who agree with me. Before you attack someone, maybe you should include all the things that were involved instead of just the ones you feel fit your narrative. Poor journalism. Very poor

  5. Telling fans to avoid watching games when Kane is scheduled play is tantamount to asking them not to root for the Blackhawks. As a woman, I am so remarkably tired of being told how to feel about this situation. So thank you for suggesting I no longer follow my team as a form of protest against someone who was never arrested for a crime, let alone convicted of one. “And, go Hawks” — how taunting, how rude.

  6. Accusations are not proof.

    What you propose is McCarthyism, a witchhunt, the very thing The Crucible warned us about.

    If we was at ANY point formally charged, then I would agree. But he was not. I don’t want to live in a country where a simple accusation can suspend you from your job and blacklist your name, and neither should you.

    Irresponsible yellow journalism, a tabloid site. Garbage.

  7. Aside from his rape allegation, how quickly we forget that he abd his cousin brutally beat a cab driver a few years back. He should be in jail for that alone. Had little Prince Patrick not been a Blackhawk player, charges would have held him accoutable. That incident was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money.

  8. You must have been busy reading Tim Baffoe and Julie DeCaro and those of their ilk while the investigation was going on…
    The fact is that there were very few articles published that provided any factual information to offer on the Patrick Kane investigation. A good chunk of us decided not to be mute lambs and take heed from articles put forth by self-proclaimed journalists that were dripping with unfounded bias and perpetuating rumors from what I can only assume were false leads, given the outcome. I have never read so many inept articles in my life.
    Maybe instead of trying to make an example of Patrick Kane in this rapey culture you speak of (who, by the way, was never charged with rape) you should be investigating why the mother FAILED to provide the police with her daughter’s tank top as she was asked to do. I’d be really interested to know why perpetuating a bag hoax took precedence over providing the police with evidence that could have possibly supported her daughters case. There’s a story for you. But you and those of your kind won’t publish it because it doesn’t fall in line with your own biased theories.

  9. Who are you to judge in this situation? And please explain to me why Pat Kane cannot be innocent? What proof do you have that the girl is not lying just to get a big payday? And you did not at all mention in your article anything about the alleged victim’s mother fabricating evidence. All you have done is bash a 26 year old kid and branded him guilty without considering that it may be the girl who is less than honest. I feel that rape is,a very violent crime and should be punished to the gullest extent of the law but infortunately some people think it is fine to cry rape for reasons known only unto them when in fact there was no such act commited. You are no real journalist if you cannot look at both sides of this sad situation and see that everyone here is a loser and with life long consequences to suffer as a result. You did not bother to mention either that that young woman has signed paperwork stating she is dropping all charges against Pat Kane. Maybe if her mother had not tried to fabricate evidence and maybe if she had left his house instead of spending the night and maybe if there had been DNA that belonged to Pat Kane below her waist(tests reported DNA from other unknown males but NONE matching Kane) then there would have been reasonable doubt and cause to prosecute. You indeed are a poor journalist since you see this on one side only and continue to badmouth this young man. You need to grow up and realize that every time a woman cries rape not every one is telling the truth. And sadly, it is those few who day they were raped but were in fact not that make things in the legal system and public media so dofficult and humiliating for those who gave actually gone through this unexcusable act of violence!

  10. So you are telling me that if I accuse you of sexy assault and there was such a lack of evidence that the charges were dropped but yet I told people to not be nice to you and to talk to you that just because you were accused, not charged, but accused that that would be ok? No, it wouldn’t, but that’s what you are telling us to do to Patrick Kane. You are saying that an accusation us just as bad as actually having dine the crime. I DO NOT understand your logic in this at all.

  11. What you are essentially espousing is a “guilty when accused until proven innocent in the media” standard for professional athletes in these cases. I understand the frustration of women created by the inequities of the system in sexual assault cases, but trying to hang Kane out to dry because of a potential assault won’t fix anything.

  12. Oh, and by the way, I will be cheering for Patrick Kane even harder now because we nm know that he did NOT rape the accuser.

  13. You should write a column for the thousands of women that don’t come forward in real rape cases. You’re basically saying that Kane is guilty because the accuser said he was, and Kane has paid off the police force in Buffalo. There was NO credible evidence of a rape. The women who were actually raped won’t come forward because they think their cases will end like Kane’s accuser’s. These are the women every writer and American should be supporting for justice. If Kane were guilty, i would be the 1st one to say let him rot in jail. He’s innocent, and I root for him and the entire Blackhawks team every game they play.

  14. I get that many rape victims do not report the crimes committed against them, or that many rape victims are subject to ridicule for “allowing” themselves to be put in such a position in the first place. I get all of that Madeline, but that does not justify the assumption of guilt that that your article embraces. Should you withdraw your support from a friend just because another person, who may or may not have their own agenda, trashes your friend publicly or accuses them of something offensive? I hope that you would not let the court of public opinion deter you from seeking the truth about your friend.

    When someone is accused of breaking the law, the individual accused has a right to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Rape, murder, plagiarism, it doesn’t matter the charge. Had Patrick Kane been charged by the Erie County DA, I’m sure Kane would have been put on suspension until the case was resolved. Any assumption of guilt prior to an investigation leading up to charges being brought is not justified. As individuals (and as students of journalism), we need to pursue truth and clarity in our opinions, and resist adopting the popular opinion of the day. As the husband to a Mills College Alum, I hear where your coming from, but you have to resist spoon-feeding your readers and editors with what they want to hear!

  15. Sorry I believe forensics before people because people lie all the time also I believe the DA therefore I will cheer for Patrick Kane because one he was never charged nor there Is no evidence except for sperm by two different guys rape kit showed no forced penetration either also only DNA they had of Kane was on her fingernails in which means it was from casual contact probably at the bar in fact I can accuse this person who wrote this of rape right now but does it mean is true? No it doesn’t

    • Hi Johnny,

      Comments are manually approved every few days by student editors. Please allow 2-3 days for comments to be approved. They will be approved in order of posting.

      Thank you!

  16. No one will ever know what happened besides the accuser the two other guys who were in the room that night…

    Seriously, two other guy’s had their DNA found, but they were never mentioned in the news for rape charges??

    Nobody corroborated her story, the Erie County DA postponed the grand jury within a month of the accusation, and he is now a New York State Supreme Court Judge. This was political from the start. Girl accuses. Police investigate. High profile name involved, so the DA gets involved. DA involvement becomes public, so he can’t throw the investigation away without hurting his election hopes. And what do you know, they announce they’re not filing charges just days after the election. Coincidence? Hell no.

    Kane played because the team knew what the DA knew, charges weren’t going to be filed because of a lack of evidence from the 4-5 other people there and DNA.

    See, i can be selective with my facts too.

  17. Wow, I guess 50k plus in tuition doesn’t ensure quality journalistic standards or the ability to develop a reasoned argument. I’d give this paper a D- The implication is the outcome was predetermined by biased media reports. Actually, the outcome was determined by a thorough and serious investigation by the (female) SVU prosecutor and the police. The evidence and DA statement came as close to exonerating Kane as you are likely to see short of “he wasn’t there.” Nevertheless, this case won’t count in the oft-cited 2 to 9 percent of false rape accusations. Go due process!

  18. Process. Procedure. Rule of Law. Why don’t you read up on these basic precepts of the the U.S. Justice System before writing extemporaneous B.S. Innocence before guilt is the standard. While not always applied, it was in this case; yet you dare ask us to presume guilt. You challenge us to disregard the facts and say the person, organization, AND the system are all wrong? I’m a Federal Inspector and I’ve sworn an oath to my country. In application, the items of proof that I collect on a given case are analyzed by the prosecuting attorney. If vetted and found to be lacking in evidentiary value, then the case is dropped as it has no probative value. Essentially, you are saying as soon as I notify a person they are under investigation, their company should suspend them. Even worse, that if the case is dropped, then they should be ostracized. Well, I love your agenda; thank you for your meager attempt. It’s been found wanting, and by the by: Go Hawks.

  19. Something tells me you are not a genuine Blackhawks fan or even a hockey fan at all.

    But admittedly, that is speculation.

    What is not speculation is that you are no fan of facts, not a fan of evidence, not a fan of due process, and certainly not a fan of one of the most sacred bedrock rights in our society – the presumption of innocence.

    Apparently courses constitutional safeguards and logic are in short supply at Vassar.

    The premise of your argument is to rail against a “win at all costs” mentality is a strawman argument at its worst. Why? Because there is no societal “cost” for letting an innocent man play the game he loves and has worked to perfect since he was a child.

    If he were convicted of rape, you’d have an argument.

    Sexual assault you would have an argument.

    If there had been sufficient probable cause for the police to make an arrest, you’d have an argument.

    But none of these facts apply. This is not the Michael Vick case with evidence, arrest, and conviction, and jail.

    You make a false argument that fans have chosen to “win at all costs.” There is no “cost” because there was no evidence of wrongdoing.

    In fact “win at all costs” is precisely what irrational activists (such as yourself) have done in this case. Without facts and evidence, irrational activists still push the political agenda that Kane should be shunned.

    Why?

    Because you want to win a political argument “at all costs.” The destruction of Kane’s reputation being worth it for you. And I get it. Destroying Kane’s reputation was OK (admit it, kinda fun, right). Who cares, right? I mean, after all, Kane makes too much money that he didn’t really earn. He didn’t really deserve to enjoy his time the Stanley cup, right? He didn’t need to be on the cover of EA Sports NHL game – did he? Activists believe all this and more. They believe that he did deserve to lose the EA’s endorsement and he did deserve to be booed and hissed night after night despite having done nothing wrong. Presumptively because he is part of a nebulous, yet ever present, “rape culture” that even Camile Paglia calls: “hysterical propaganda.” But sacrificing an innocent person for “hysterical propaganda” is precisely the author’s goal. I guess this is the progressive agenda. Let’s not follow this agenda.

    And after the case fell apart, after the victim’s friends would support her version of the events, after the negative DNA tests, after the attempted evidence tampering, do you acknowledge that Kane is innocent? Do we get them moving on? Nope – we get shrill cries demanding that we shun a person from society – for the sake of politics.

    In your call for a boycott, you quip: “We don’t need a suspected rapist to play good hockey.”

    No, we don’t need unfair and incivil activists having a readership base they don’t deserve.

    Facts matter: he is not a suspected rapist. But then again, you’d fit right in with most journalists who seem to have trouble reporting the truth.

    (Stylistically, the article was well written).

  20. The premise of your argument is to rail against a “win at all costs” mentality is a strawman argument at its worst. There is no societal “cost” for letting an innocent man play the game he loves and has worked to perfect since he was a child.

    If he were convicted of rape, you’d have an argument.

    Sexual assault you would have an argument.

    If there had been sufficient probable cause for the police to make an arrest, you’d have an argument.

    But none of these facts apply. This is not the Michael Vick case with evidence, arrest, and conviction, and jail.

    There is no “cost” because there was no evidence of wrongdoing.

    In fact “win at all costs” is precisely what activists have done in this case. Without facts and evidence, activists still push the political agenda that Kane should be shunned.

    Why?

    Because activists want to win a political argument “at all costs.” The destruction of Kane’s reputation being worth it. And I get it. Destroying Kane’s reputation was OK (admit it, kinda fun, right). Who cares, right? I mean, after all, Kane makes too much money that he didn’t really earn. He didn’t really deserve to enjoy his time the Stanley cup, right? He didn’t need to be on the cover of EA Sports NHL game – did he? Activists believe all this and more. They believe that he did deserve to lose the EA’s endorsement and he did deserve to be booed and hissed night after night despite having done nothing wrong. Presumptively because he is part of a nebulous, yet ever present, “rape culture” that even Camile Paglia calls: “hysterical propaganda.” But sacrificing an innocent person for “hysterical propaganda” is the intent.

    And after the case fell apart, after the victim’s friends would support her version of the events, after the negative DNA tests, after the attempted evidence tampering, do we get an acknowledgement that Kane is innocent? Do we get activists moving on? No, rather demands to shun a person from society – for the sake of politics.

    In your call for a boycott, you quip: “We don’t need a suspected rapist to play good hockey.”

    Facts matter: he is not a suspected rapist.

  21. “The details of the investigation don’t matter. His innocence or guilt is not the point.”

    I’m sure you would not apply this same standard to yourself if you were ever accused of anything like rape. Hypocrite.

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