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The 5 Craziest Things That Happened In Super Bowl LII

Super Bowl LII brought us one of the most explosive offensive showdowns in NFL playoff history, and of all the ways that could have turned out, Nick Foles and the Eagles outdueled Tom Brady and the Patriots. Philadelphia finally won its Super Bowl, the fans went wild, and another NFL season was put on the books. Before we move on to conversations about the NFL Draft and other sports, however, it feels necessary to recap some of the craziest things that happened in a wild, dramatic game.

1. Brandin Cooks Took A (Legal) Helmet-to-Helmet Hit

We’ll start with this because it’s probably the most important thing that happened in the Super Bowl, even if it’s not fun to talk about. Heading into this game, talk about the NFL’s concussion problem seemed to be at an all-time high. There were articles written about why we continue to watch football when we know the players are sustaining brain injuries, and there was even talk in detailed game previews that Rob Gronkowski’s concussion could be a factor. The Patriots star sustained a hit to the head in the AFC Championship game and though he was cleared to play there were more than a few questions about whether he ought to have been.

It wasn’t Gronkowski that wound up having issues with this sort of thing during the game, but seemingly inevitably there was a concussion. Another Patriots star, wide receiver Brandin Cooks, took a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit and was ruled out for the rest of the game. The trouble, and what made it crazy, was that the hit was ruled legal simply because Cooks had established himself as a runner after a catch. This kind of technicality is frankly absurd when player safety is already such an issue, and it ought to be dealt with during the offseason.

2. Malcolm Butler Was Benched

Malcolm Butler is one of the Patriots’ best defensive players – and for that matter one who’s helped them win a Super Bowl before. And for seemingly no reason at all, he was suddenly benched for the Super Bowl. Head coach Bill Belichick made a vague remark about making the decisions he needed to for his team to win. Butler himself said he had no idea what had happened, and that the team had given up on him. Huh?

This would have been a crazy decision by an all-time great coach even if we just saw it on paper before the game. What made it completely insane was that the Patriots’ other cornerbacks got absolutely torched the entire game. Eric Rowe, who started in Butler’s place and played most of the game, allowed six catches for 79 yards. The others in the secondary didn’t do much better. Butler indicated after the game that he could have changed the outcome, and he’s probably right.

3. Nick Foles Caught A Touchdown

At one point in this game the Patriots reached into their bag of tricks and tried a play out of the shotgun resulting in two handoffs and a pass attempt to a (slowly) streaking Tom Brady. The play worked like a charm, but for the fact that the ball was thrown just a few inches too far and Brady’s outstretched fingertips were unable to make the catch. Just a short time later, the Eagles decided to get cheeky and run more or less the exact same play – only theirs was in the red zone and resulted in Nick Foles catching a touchdown. It was undoubtedly the play that will get talked about most from Super Bowl LII, and it was wild.

4. Tom Brady Fumbled Late

When Tom Brady gets the ball back and has a chance to win the game, you assume he’s going to win the game. That’s an enormous credit to the Patriots’ 21st century-long dynasty and the greatness of Brady himself, even if people are tired of acknowledging it. The fact that New England overcame the biggest deficit in Super Bowl history just last year only added to the feeling that no lead against them is safe, even late in the game.

So, when the Eagles took the lead and Brady got the ball back with a little over two minutes to go, it looked like we were watching a familiar script play out. The Eagles had left too much time on the clock and Brady would be able to do his thing. But that’s just not how it played out this time, and at this point that’s thoroughly unexpected. Seemingly before the drive could even get started Brady’s pocket collapsed and the ball was knocked out of his hand for a clear fumble, which Philly recovered.

5. Eli Manning Stole The Show

Leave it to Eli Manning and the Giants to upstage the Patriots in a Super Bowl. Despite the fact that the Giants had a deeply disappointing 2017 season and weren’t in the playoffs to spoil the party for Brady and Co. on the field, Manning and his leading wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. made their presence felt. The two starred in a Dirty Dancing spoof that’s widely being labeled as the best ad of the Super Bowl (though it’s hard to argue against the Doritos/Mountain Dew double ad featuring Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman). It was a terrific ad, and one that brought a dose of levity to the occasion.

Preview: Wisconsin Badgers Aim for Another 10 Win Season as a Healthy Clement Returns for Senior Year

BY DAN GARCIA

Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Despite a 10-win season and an exciting bowl victory against USC to bring their 2015 to a close, the Wisconsin Badgers certainly could have hoped for better luck last year. All season the Badgers fell victim to their injuries and costly mistakes, that without could have easily led to an undefeated season after their opening loss to Alabama.

Starting tailback and the Badgers’ most valuable player, Corey Clement, only logged 4 games played and just above 200 yards rushing for the season due to a sports hernia injury and a suspension from an off-field incident. As a result, the Badgers and their massive front line only averaged 150 rushing yards per game in 2015, which is more than disappointing by the team’s standards. And although QB Joel Stave was one of the rare consistencies for the team last year, it is hard to imagine if his few but notable mistakes at crucial moments, would have been avoided if he had Clement to relieve him of some of the offensive burden.

But even with their injuries, the Badgers still put up 10 wins last season and had a stellar defense that surprised many. The Badgers were just a couple scores away from an undefeated conference record and without the Iowa Hawkeye’s remarkable and surprising season last year, the Badgers would have won the Big Ten West and would have been playing for much more than the National Funding Holiday Bowl title.

So how about this season? Although the Badgers lost Joel Stave and their leading receiver, Alex Erickson, (to name a few) they are no better or worse off than most Big 10 programs this year. And where they lose their starting quarterback, they gain with a fresh Corey Clement, who many wondered would even see a 2016 season with the Badgers. With Clement back, hoping to make up for last year and increase his draft stock for next year, and of course that classic Grade A offensive line that has become a staple in Wisconsin football, you can expect big things for Wisconsin’s rushing game this year. Not only can you expect much more from Clement this year, but he should be a statistical dream for the Badgers this season.

Running game alone won’t win the Big Ten West for Wisconsin however, and with Stave gone, the QB battle between Bart Houston and Alex Hornibrook will be interesting. Head Coach Paul Chryst hasn’t picked his man yet, but Wisconsin fans should keep their fingers crossed that he gets it right the first time around, because their is no time to waste, as the Badgers open their season against LSU at the historic Lambeau Field on September 3rd, which should be an easier opening opponent than Alabama, but still no walk in the park either.

Houston and/or Hornibrook shouldn’t feel pressured into greatness though, because with the Badgers’ running game and the O-line providing great protection, the key for Wisconsin’s future starter should be not making big mistakes and providing Clement an occasional breather.

And now for the other side of the ball, the defense. After their loss to Alabama last year, Wisconsin’s defense gave up only 13 points in its next four games. Even in its heartbreaking loss at home to Iowa, the defense only gave up 10 points in a game where the offensive gave up 4 turnovers. The 2nd-ranked defense far exceeded anyone’s expectations and despite losing three starters in the secondary, the defense is definitely in a position to have another great year, even if not a 2nd-ranked year. Their 3-4 defense isn’t full of future NFL stars, but collectively they are a solid bunch that should get the job done and put the offense in a great position to get some major wins.

Overall, while you can’t predict just what may go wrong in terms of injuries/bad luck/crucial mistakes, Wisconsin should be in a great position this year to make noise in the Big Ten. Iowa won’t be the team they were last year and assuming Clement comes back as motivated as we expect him to be (and stays healthy of course), the Badgers will be the rushing machine that they once were and the favorite in the Big Ten West. Mix an unstoppable rushing program with the Badgers’ new stellar defense that they found in 2015, and you have one great football team. Replacing starters and finding answers at quarterback should all be questions that Wisconsin can answer before conference play begins, but a big win against LSU is crucial to get the season started on the right foot.

Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Their first big test: September 3rd vs. LSU @Lambeau Field

While the Badgers have struggled opening their season against SEC opponents in the past two years, things look to be different in 2016. Not only are they playing close to home in Green Bay, WI, at an historic stadium where most Badger players have dreamed of playing since they were kids, but they look better off this time around. In 2014 they suffered a disappointing comeback to the evenly matched LSU, but still a game they could have easily won. In 2015, they lost another virtual Away game in Texas, this time to Alabama, who at that point was clearly the better team. Fast forward to 2016 and the Badgers are practically playing a home game against an evenly matched team, who may not be able to pull the same comeback in front of a sold-out Green Bay crowd, if given the opportunity like they were two years ago.

Will they win the Big Ten West? Yes.

With Iowa expected to fall short of their season last year, Wisconsin is our favorite to win the Big Ten West this year. The East winner (whoever that may be this season) is likely to come ahead in the Big Ten Championship, but if Wisconsin makes it that far, they will definitely be in a good position to steal the conference championship and much more.

The difficulty of their conference schedule comes in its first three games (at Michigan St., at Michigan, home against Ohio St.). If they can win at least 2 of the 3, they will be in a great spot before they face Iowa on October 22nd, otherwise you can expect the winner of that game to eventually represent the West in the conference championship.

The 2 keys to success: Corey Clement and the Defense picking up where they left off.

Even with uncertainties at quarterback, Wisconsin’s offense will be just find if Corey Clement does as well as we expect him to. He will make Houston and Hornibrook’s job much easier if he stays healthy and dominates like he should. And if Clement keeps the Wisconsin defense off the field and well rested, the D can continue to build off their dominance in 2015. Again, don’t expect another 2nd-ranked defense (especially with the changes in their secondary), but with Clement making their job easier, they can have another outstanding year.

Sorry Canada, but Hockey is Ours Now

BY TER STAFF

Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Sorry Canada, but hockey is ours now. While ice hockey will remain as Canada’s premiere sport, probably until the end of time, and football will remain king in the U.S., for the first time in 46 years no Canadian teams will make the NHL playoffs.

What makes things even worse for Canada is 46 years ago, there were only two of two Canadian teams who didn’t make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This time around there are seven total NHL teams in Canada who were eliminated from playoff contention, all with several games left in the NHL season.

Not since 1993 has a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup and not since 2011 has a Canadian team even made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, and this year will mark an 22nd straight year that an American team will take home the Cup.

This alone is not why hockey is ours now, after all even though U.S. teams are dominant in the NHL today, they all have plenty of imports from Canada. However this year will also mark the first time that an American born player will win the NHL’s coveted Art Ross Trophy, awarded to the player with the most points in the regular season.

Unless Jamie Benn can put up 12 points in 2 games, or Sidney Crosby can get 18 in 4 games, both while having the number one spot remain pointless in his next 3 contests, Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane will become the first ever American born player to win the Art Ross. Kaner is also the favorite for the Hart Trophy, given to the league’s Most Valuable Player. If he takes home the Hart as well, he will become the first American born-and-raised player to do such.

New York-born Billy Burch won the trophy in the ’20s, however he moved to Toronto at an early age.

This isn’t all. Sales have also been dominated by American teams. While the Montreal Canadians consistently remain as one of the top selling NHL teams, a Canadian team has not reached the number one spot in attendance since the 2007-2008 season.

Don’t worry Canada, just as you have been dominating our music scene in the past few years, we have dominated hockey. Both Justin Bieber and hockey are ours now.

You will always have a big place in the history of hockey though. However, if you don’t start getting your act together, hockey will only continue to evolve into an American sport.

We will gladly take your exports, after all, the Blackhawks couldn’t prosper without Jonathan Toews and Corey Crawford, but hockey is only getting bigger in the States.

Premier League Clubs to Cheer for Chicago Sports Fans

Broadcasting in 212 territories spanning 643 million homes and a potential TV viewership of 4.7 billion people, the Barclays Premier League is the most watched soccer league in the world. These numbers reflect the popularity of a sport that has continuous action on and sometimes off the pitch. It’s also a testament of an increasing fan base that covers almost all continents around the globe. However, for American sports fans, it’s still somewhat of a challenge appreciating the league as a whole and rooting for a specific club.

Part of the United States’ lack of appeal with soccer is it’s equally fascinating sports teams in major leagues such as the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, the Major League Baseball, and the National Football League. Take our beloved Chicago, for instance. Our city takes pride in having the most marketable teams in the world. The teams obviously include the Bulls, the Blackhawks, the Cubs, and the Bears – all of which consider the Windy City their home. But for prospective fans of the Premier League, it’s not too late to start cheering for a soccer club; all it takes is a little mirror comparison with these Chicago-based teams.

Chicago Bulls (NBA)

Photo Courtesy of NBA.com
Photo Courtesy of NBA.com

Like the Chicago Bulls, Chelsea has seen a lot of ups and downs in recent memory. The club has gone from the pinnacle of the Premier League to the base of relegation and back. Before the beginning of the season, Chelsea were favorites to recapture the crown. Now though, they are facing life without successful manager Jose Mourinho and their captain John Terry who announced his intentions to leave when he becomes a free agent. Additionally, as the roll of the ball would have it – like the Bulls – the Blues are underachieving this season. On the other side of the coin, it still has iconic players, akin to the Michael Jordans, the Scottie Pippens, and the Derrick Roses of the NBA, like John Terry, who has been with the club since the start of his youth career in 1995, for now at least.

Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)

Photo Courtesy of NHL.com
Photo Courtesy of NHL.com

Over the years, the Chicago Blackhawks have become perennial contenders for the Stanley Cup trophy. Manchester City, on the other hand, have also comfortably settled with competing at the top of the Premier League table in the last 5 seasons. Both teams recently won championships and even continued to revamp their rosters from top to bottom. For Chicago Blackhawks sports fans, City remains their soccer counterpart, especially with all the key acquisitions and the potential to once again bag the title.

Chicago Cubs (MLB)

Photo Courtesy of RantSports.com
Photo Courtesy of RantSports.com

They say that misery loves company. And what better way to share the dishonor of decade’s even century’s worth of frustration than in sports. The Chicago Cubs and Newcastle United have a common denominator in terms of being a wealthy team that has never won a league championship in almost a century. In layman’s term, they are these popular, overly attractive prom queens who grew up to always be the bridesmaid and never the bride. With the way things are going right now for the Magpies, the team looks like they will drop down from maid of honor to an evening guest.

Chicago Bears (NFL)

Photo Courtesy of ArgusLeader.com
Photo Courtesy of ArgusLeader.com

After selling Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke to Manchester City and Liverpool, respectively, Aston Villa’s future in Premier League looks bleak. There will always be history involved when talking about the Villans, as they are (or were) a strong English team that are appealing and intriguing at the same time. With the infamous Tim Sherwood receiving his pink slip in the midst of a dismal season, who knows what the future holds for Aston Villa in the Championship next season.

Don’t Let Judd Apatow Fool You, the Super Bowl’s Halftime Show Booking of Coldplay is its Best in Years

BY DAN GARCIA

Courtesy of Getty Images

Ever since Judd Apatow’s “40 Year Old Virgin”, where Paul Rudd’s character told Seth Rogen’s, “you know how I know you’re gay? You like Coldplay”, it has been uncool to be a Coldplay fan. And as crazy as it sounds, and while no one should every denial the cultural influence that the comedic genius Judd Apatow has on society, that small joke has almost single handedly made it lame to like Coldplay. As a result, given today’s reports that Chris Martin and company will be headlining the NFL’s Super Bowl Halftime Show, everyone on your Twitter and Facebook feed has gone nuts! Year-by-year, the Superbowl is criticized for it’s relatively safe and underwhelming choices for the Halftime Show, and while fans this year are probably more upset than ever, they are wrong.

On the surface, given the unwarranted hate that they get, Coldplay seems like another bust for what could be an epic performance on America’s most watched event. Hell, the highlight of Katy Perry’s performance last year was a meme that came from a guy in a Shark suit who couldn’t dance along to Perry’s colorful performance. Why no Drake? Why no Kanye West? Why no Adele, even? Those are valid questions, but don’t sleep on Coldplay!

A few years ago, I was offered a free ticket to see Coldplay at the United Center in Chicago. Because I had no other plans, because the ticket was free, because I wasn’t driving, I decided to go (note that I was not a Coldplay fan). To me, when I heard “Coldplay” I instantly thought of that hilarious one liner from “40 Year Old Virgin”, I didn’t think, “great entertainers”. Going into the performance, for no rational reasons at all, I expected not to enjoy myself.

Boy was I wrong! In the past year alone, having the opportunity to see some great live performers up close and personal in the photo pit, I’ve seen amazing sets from Kanye West, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Future, Neil Young and many many more. Not knowing the exact number, I’ve probably seen 200+ concerts in the past couple years alone. However, still Coldplay’s performance from the 300 level of the UC stands out as one of the best concerts I have ever seen. The performance had unmatched energy from everyone on stage and an entertaining set-up and light show that has been replicated by many since. At this time especially, artists did not put a lot of money back into their performances, and for this reason Coldplay’s performance that night was well ahead of its time. I could write 1,000 words on what made that performance stand out, but I will spare you too many spoilers from what you will see in 2016.

Reminder, I am not a Coldplay fan, not then and still not now. That is no disrespect to Chris Martin, rather there are just so many artists and bands I can regularly listen to and their sound generally isn’t my go-to sound. But I can’t deny their stage presence, their live performances, the energy they put into those live performances, and in general their ability to craft a more than memorable show.

Hit me up if I am wrong, but I bet Coldplay’s performance at this year’s Super Bowl will leave a ton of people surprised and will gain them a whole new fan base. You heard it here first…

Is Patrick Kane the Greatest American Born Hockey Player of All-Time?

BY DAN GARCIA

Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

With less than a minute left in regulation, Patrick Kane gained a game tying assist to force overtime between his Chicago Blackhawks and the Anaheim Ducks last night. Not only did his assist help his team to a 3-2 victory, but it extended his current point streak to 18, tied for the largest point streak ever by an American-born player in the NHL.

In the past 18 games, Kaner has 10 goals, 19 assists and an impressive total of 29 points.

Today, the 2015 Stanley Cup champs face the Los Angeles Kings (winners of the cup in 2014), giving Kane the chance to extend his point streak even further, and make him the sole holder of the American points streak record.

As Kane has the chance to make history tonight, it raises the question of whether or not, the 27-year-old Kane is already the best American born hockey player in the history of the NHL?

If all goes Kane’s way tonight, his point streak will not be the only accolade to support his greatness. The Hawks’ forward has already won 3 Stanley Cups and is only one of four American born players to win the Conn Smythe trophy, awarded to the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs. And while Patrick Kane only took home the Conn Smythe one of three years which the Hawk’s won the cup in recent history, he has played big roles in all three wins, as #88 is one of the best players in the playoffs.

In his 116 playoff games played, Kane has put up an amazing 114 points.

While three other Americans have been dubbed the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs in the past, no American has ever been named the regular season’s MVP, the Hart Memorial Trophy. While that may sound surprising, you’d also be surprised to hear that no American born player has ever led the league in points at the regular season’s end either, the Art Ross Trophy. Kane was on this track last year, until he suffered an injury in the second half of the season/

If things continue at their current pace, Kane just make take home both. Currently Kane leads the league in points and assists at 35 and 22 respectively. Kane also is 2nd in the league in total goals. Just weeks ago on his 27th birthday, Patrick Kane led the NHL in points, goals, assists and plus/minus. While the reigning Stanley Cup Champions have struggled at times this season, and despite a rape investigation, which has now been dropped but trickled into the regular season, Kane has been on fire.

Kane is playing the best hockey of his career and if things ended today, the Blackhawks’ star forward would take home the Art Ross and likely the Hart Memorial.

It’s hard to imagine having the discussion of “the best ever” for any category, when the player still has a couple seasons until they turn 30, but the numbers don’t lie. Kane has already achieved what only a microscopic group of Americans have done before him and he is easily on pace to do a number of things that no one from the U.S. has ever done.

If he isn’t already the best American to ever do it, talk to me in a year!

Winning But Worried: 3 Teams Who Risk Staying Undefeated Today

BY TIM TAUER
Courtesy of Bleacher Report

Winning is always great. In the new college football postseason era, winning-out on a decent schedule probably gets you a shot at the championship. But not all is peaches and beer pong in the land of the undefeated. After all, only four teams get a shot at taking home the championship trophy. So, despite being loss-less rocky wins, early injuries, and close games could (and rightfully should) make fans at home a little nervous about the rest of the season. Here are the top three teams, who despite being undefeated, should be worried about going into today’s game.

Auburn – The fact that Auburn (2-0) barely squeaked out a win against Louisville (0-3) and still managed to avoid a drop in the rankings is quite shocking. Louisville went into the season dealing with multiple off-the-field issues, quarterback controversy, and a lackluster run defense. Despite a hot start Auburn looked sluggish in the second half, allowing Louisville a chance at victory up until the very last second.

Auburn eventually dropped eight spots after defeating an unranked Jacksonville State (1-1) in OT. If it weren’t for a botched punt with under a minute left, the Tigers would most likely be heading into today’s game against LSU (1-0) with a loss under their belt.

It seemed as though the game against Louisville could’ve been a fluke- first game jitters perhaps. But the OT victory over Jacksonville State shows that Auburn must re-legitimize themselves as a serious contender before they can move back up.

They have a shot to do so in today’s game against LSU.

Although it may not seem like it from watching the past two games, LSU is Auburn’s first real opponent thus far. A victory against LSU could give Auburn fans, coaches, and players a little relief from what is is shaping up to be a very rocky start. For the Tigers, a big win today could be exactly what they need.

Courtesy of WagerTalk.com

Notre Dame – There were many unanswered questions for Notre Dame going into the 2015 season. Would Malik Zaire be ready to take over as the starting quarterback? Has the defense improved enough to be deserving of the 6th overall defense in college football? After their 38-3 domination over Texas it seemed as though the answers to those questions were yes, and yes. The 6′ 222lb Junior completed 19 of his 22 passes against the Longhorns, racking up a total of 313 yards and three touchdowns. And the defense held Texas to a mere three points. Talks of Notre Dame (2-0) as a likely contender for the playoffs were abuzz.

It seemed as though the doubts vanished, that was until Malik Zaire fell to a broken ankle late in the 3rd quarter last Saturday against Virginia (0-2). The Caveliers began attacking through the air and the Irish secondary was slow to adjust. This forced Notre Dame to respond with an inexperienced, second-string freshman quarterback Deshone Kizer.

Kizer’s first drive was a disaster. He was nervous, flustered, and indecisive. And it showed.

Down 26-27 with 1:54 left on the clock it was up to Kizer to lead the Irish to victory. Kizer looked infinitely more relaxed, completing every one of his passes as he sought to set up kicker Justin Yoon with a game-winning field goal. Unbeknown to Kizer, however, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly had other plans.

Kelly allowed Kizer to take a shot at the end zone. With a few seconds left on the clock, he launched a 39 yard pass and Fuller snagged it in for the game winning touchdown.

Notre Dame managed to rally against Virginia but not without consequence. They revealed to opponents everywhere that their secondary can be worked. And although Kizer finished strong, there is currently a rather large question mark over the inexperienced quarterback’s head.

Today, Notre Dame will face-off against a tough Georgia Tech (2-0). This is far from a throwaway game, and Irish fans everywhere should be a little nervous about what lies ahead.

Courtesy of Baylor.edu

Baylor – The Bears are undefeated. They’ve dominated every team thus far, beating their first two opponents with a combined total of 122-52; ultimately allotting themselves the number one total offense in all of college football. To top it off, they have the advantage of easing into what seems like a difficult schedule down the road.

So why should Baylor (2-0) fans be worried? Despite it all, the Bears are the only team in the top 10 who dropped in the rankings after last week’s match-ups. They’ve done everything they could, yet if the playoffs were tomorrow Baylor would be out. This has to be worrisome for Bears fans, many of whom feel like they were snubbed a playoffs spot last season.

With opponents like Oklahoma (2-0), Oklahoma State (2-0), and TCU (2-0) in their future, Baylor needs a ranking high enough to be able to take a loss. As of now they aren’t in that spot.

Ohio State has the burden of being number one, and thus, can only go down in the rankings. However, after Baylor’s recent drop it seems as though they, too, share this burden.

Baylor plays Rice (1-1) 2pm CT and is expected to have another blowout game. But if the Bears fall anything short, don’t be surprised if they drop again.

 

Patrick Kane supporters, I get you

BY DAN GARCIA

Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

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.