BY DAN GARCIA
I’m trying to think like a pessimistic journalist, and I don’t get some of you.
In the Chicago Tribune this week, Contract Reporter Steve Rosenbloom wrote a column on his inability to understand the thought process behind Chicago Blackhawks fans who have decided to stand by Patrick Kane while he is currently involved in an investigation for an alleged sexual assault.
He may not get you Hawks fans, but I do. Actually, it is Rosenbloom and the many other reporters who are quick to throw Patrick Kane under the bus and jump to conclusions, despite the fact that Kane has still not been charged with a crime, whom I do not understand.
In his column, Rosenbloom asks fans, “Why aren’t you mad at Kane?”
I would have to answer his question, with another question,
“At this point in time, why would you be mad at Kane?”
While I understand why sponsors (like EA Sports) are quick to cut all ties with athletes whenever an allegation pops up, that is for their own financial benefit and from a precautionary angle, but why must Blackhawks fan jump ship?
It can’t be said enough that Patrick Kane has not been charged with any crime over the alleged incident. In fact, police have only confirmed that there is an investigation of an incident that occurred at Kane’s home, not even confirming whether Kane is involved in, or is a subject of, that investigation.
Despite everyone (beside Kane and his accuser) having no evidence or first hand knowledge of the situation, news outlets are quick to come at Kane and leak stories which tend to lead their readers to certain conclusions. “There is a loud group of fans blindly defending Kane from the start,” writes Rosenbloom. However it is those on the other side who are speaking blindly.
When news organizations release and share news, that is often meant to be confidential, that leads people to jump the gun and assume Kane is guilty. Kane is known as a party animal and has got himself into trouble in the past, but nothing like this. However because of his bad boy past, which many believe he has long since graduated from, people now assume he is a felon, again without being charged of a crime.
“I am absolutely astounded by how quickly people come to opinions and how they pour concrete so fast without having one single fact,” said District Attorney Frank Sedita, who is in charge of Kane’s fate.
Sedita warned people not to come to opinions about the investigation, opinions that Rosenbloom and others have already come to. “What happens if that investigation – after I’ve announced that this person is under investigation – what happens if that investigation clears somebody? The point is, that person cannot get their reputation back. That person will always have a cloud over their head.” Sedita is right, and because “leaking the story” is too attractive to new outlets who profit off hits and clicks, that cloud has already casted itself over Kane and rained on his permanent reputation.
For the same reason that the accuser’s friends, family and community should not assume she is a liar that’s trying to exploit an athlete for money, we should not assume Kane performed such an absolutely unforgivable act. Rape is right there with murder, and to associate someone with something that horrible, they should not only be charged but found guilty of that heinous act. The Chicago Tribune reporter reminded his fans that they “don’t know what happened,” but neither does he.
Rosenbloom then cites EA Sports taking Kane off the cover of their new video game and the NHL keeping Kane out of their annual media kickoff tour as evidence, almost suggesting that they believe Kane must be guilty. However, on the other side of things, the Blackhawks today have confirmed that Patrick Kane will attend their upcoming training camp, and for the same reason that Kane’s supporters are currently by his side… He has not been charged with a crime! Even if he was charged with a crime, a lengthy trial would then determine whether or not Kane committed that crime.
So as it stands now, a District Attorney is not convinced that Kane, more likely than not, committed a crime. Because of this uncertainty, a grand jury will now decide whether Kane will be charged (again not if he is guilty, but if there is even enough likelihood he committed a crime that he should therefore be charge with one).
Yes, rapes are hard to prove and just because someone is not convicted of sexual assault does not mean they didn’t commit one. But none-the-less, there is no reason that Blackhawks fans should be quick to pass blame on Patrick Kane. Bill Cosby supporters, have nearly 50 accusers with similar accounts, lawsuits, settlements, and therefore an overwhelming amount of evidence against them that suggest that Cosby has drugged and date raped women, despite not serving time for such acts. In this case we have only a couple news outlets which purport that Kane allegedly raped a woman. No charges. No lawsuit. No suspension. No found guilt.
This is no disrespect to any victims of sexual assault, this just means that unaffected parties should wait for a little more evidence before they rush to their opinions. Pro-Kane (at this point in time) does not mean that you are pro-rape.
Let the grand jury, the district attorney, Kane and his attorney, and the victim and her attorney work this out among themselves. Let the judicial system do its job. If Kane is charged, if he is suspended, or if he is one day found guilty, then let’s have the “did he do it?” debate.
Meanwhile, while everyone waits patiently, don’t throw Patrick Kane under the bus. Not yet.
Patrick Kane supporters, those who wait to cast judgement, those who don’t grab their pitchforks while scream “rapist”, those who support their home team when they have no factual reasons not to… I get you.