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In My Defense

It’s time to stop celebrating Patrick Kane

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180515_IMD

All the great sports stories are about facing adversity and coming out on top. Actually, the majority of sports stories — good and bad —  are about facing adversity and coming out on top. It’s the most common narrative in sports, and it’s a familiar and comfortable one that I’ve read dozens, if not hundreds, of times. 

But can someone tell male sports writers that continuing to play a sport after being accused of rape is not facing adversity? 

Getting away with sexual assault or any brand of violence against women is almost as familiar a narrative in sports as facing adversity. Kobe Bryant’s sexual assault case is two paragraphs on his Wikipedia page, immediately followed by all his endorsement deals. Bryant played for 13 years after the sexual assault accusations, and people would much rather remember him as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. 

That’s his narrative, and as I wrote a few weeks ago, it’s something that I can’t help but remember when his name (frequently, despite the fact he’s no longer playing) comes up. 

So let’s talk about how Patrick Kane is captaining Team USA at the IIHF World Championships right now. 

Honestly, worlds isn’t something the North American hockey world puts much stock in, given that it happens at the same time as the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It’s the professional hockey equivalent of college basketball’s NIT in the sense that it’s where you go to play if you don’t make the postseason. 

Worlds is Kane’s redemption arc. Or, yet another in a series of redemption arcs since he got bad press after a drunken night on Cinco de Mayo in 2012 and since he was accused of rape in August 2015. Every little victory for him — his Art Ross win for the NHL’s leading scorer in 2016, his Hart Trophy win for NHL MVP that same season, and every multi-point game and minor achievement since — has been his redemption yet again.

It’s a little exhausting. 

I keep reading articles with phrases like “in the wake of the #MeToo movement,” that deal with the reckoning coming for famous men who have been accused of sexual assault. That movement hasn’t quite expanded to sports, for a lot of reasons. 

Sports culture is incredibly hypermasculine, with sexism built into the environment, into the game and the fandom and the media. 

With Kane’s “glorious redemption” as the captain of Team USA, and after a lack of postseason success the past two seasons, we’re reminded that the sports media doesn’t really care. 

If you read the articles, you’ll see this narrative arising: It was three years ago, it’s time to celebrate Patrick Kane again. It’s time to solidify him in history as one of the greatest American hockey players of all time, and not remember his past. 

Kane has a future as the next Bobby Hull, a man the NHL still celebrates for his on-ice feats despite history as an abusive husband and Nazi sympathizer. He has a future as hockey’s Kobe Bryant, in debate as one of the GOATs after a settlement in his sexual assault case. 

Kane’s a great player, there’s no denying that. But I don’t personally think that what he does on the ice should come before what he does off it. It’s absolutely necessary to talk about his hockey, and I won’t fault the sports reporters who cover him for that. But there’s no need to celebrate him.

The accusations against him will get erased from the narrative of Patrick Kane, as his story becomes instead his leadership quality and what he means to the landscape of American hockey. His story should, instead, be similar to those of the celebrities who have fallen from grace following accusations of assault. We should recognize it with his name.

Unlike players who return from injury or who face significant barriers because of their race, Patrick Kane shouldn’t get the same narrative of facing adversity. I don’t think he deserves redemption. 

Reach Managing Editor Hailey Robinson at sports@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @haileyarobin 

(2) comments

Mdkittleson33

You don’t have to do some deep dive into investigative journalism to find that out and judging by your skill as a writer and other articles you’ve written, you chose to leave that information out on purpose. I’m not sure why and it’s none of my business but you’re doing yourself a disservice to have this type of content in your catalog. If interviewing you for a writing position I’d only have to sift through 2 other articles on google before finding this one and it would close the book on you literally and figuratively. When men step out of line, sexually assault or physically assault a female they are NEVER welcomed back to their sports with open arms and many who were falsely accused and didn’t have the money or clout to prove it, find themselves in that same boat with the guilty parties to this day. I’m not going to do more work on your article than you did and source the information but it’s readily available to anyone that cares to look. You’d hope someone who wrote an article like this would be someone who did that but it’s pretty obvious you are not. Both of their accusers have admitted to falsely accusing both men in one way or another. Kobe’s accuser admitted she had consensual sex with Kobe, was afraid to tell her boyfriend who she thought would be able to tell something happened and made the story up. She had a history of mental illness, it spiraled out of control on her very fast and she regrets all of it to this day. Saying a very rich athlete settled a civil case out of court to get an ordeal over with so they can move on, is somehow a barometer for innocence or guilt is almost as laughable as your “reporting” in this piece. When it comes to the Patrick Kane case I’m a bit closer to the source material. I grew up in South Buffalo and played pick up hockey and basketball with him growing up. The hockey games were pleasant because of little Patty was roasting everybody and having everyone tell him how great he is, he was happy as can be. It was during the basketball games that Patrick’s true nature came out. If he and his giant cousin (the same one he was arrested with for assaulting a cab driver) were losing, and they normally were, he would just start having his cousin and friends take us out with cheap shots over and over again, just to run under a picnic bench when the punches started to fly. I know of almost nobody that has had pleasurable experiences with Patrick Kane. I think he’s a spoiled sniveling little brat who thinks he should have to work for nothing while being entitled to EVERYTHING. At the same time, your just plain wrong when it comes to his “sexual assault” case. There wasn’t a single cop who believed the story she gave and if you would have done a little research you would know that. It was a pretty cut and dry case of the people in her life believing they struck it rich when she had a sexual encounter with Patrick Kane. I’m with you on the whole “Kane shouldn’t be the captain of the USA worlds team” but that has more to do with who he is as a leader, rather then who he is on the party scene. Women have been treated unfairly and been the victim of powerful men who think their role in the workplace or world gives them free reign to be despicable human beings for far too long. It’s about time that those things started to change and I think most men would agree with me. Writing articles like this will not help that cause. It’ll just be another thing for those “powerful” men who are holding on to their positions by a string to point to and say “see, they just make stuff up”. Maybe think about that next time you do an article like this. Your heart is in the right place but it’s effecting where your mind is. You’re a very talented writer and I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future. I hope you see this post for what it was meant to be and that’s constructive criticism from someone who thinks your writing CAN reach a lot of people and effect people’s lives in a positive way.

Mdkittleson33

I think you’re missing a pretty big part of the narrative here. Bryant and Kane were both falsely accused and it’s not all that hard

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