Patrick Kane’s image tarnished despite rape case turning in his favor

Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) warms up before a pre-season NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Chicago, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015.  (AP Photo/David Banks)

Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) warms up before a pre-season NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Chicago, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/David Banks)

By Natalie Fiorilli | The Duquesne Duke

Coming off of another Stanley Cup-winning season, Patrick Kane has insurmountable support from his fans – fans that seem to have overlooked his behavior off the ice.

Over the summer, the Chicago Blackhawks winger was accused of raping a young woman in Buffalo. When it comes to situations like the one Kane is currently involved in, fans often take the side of their favorite player.

Even worse, the NHL has allowed him to partake in training camp as well as preseason games. At this point, what does it take for a professional athlete to be penalized for their wrongdoings?

It feels like it has happened so many times before that athletes have found themselves in compromising situations, yet fans take their sides.

Take legendary boxer, Mike Tyson, for example. He was charged of rape in 1992 and spent time in prison, yet through the ’90s and until today, he has remained one of the most popular boxers in the sport’s history. Current Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was accused on two separate occasions of rape, walked away with less than a scratch on his record, and you still see his jerseys all around Pittsburgh.

While it is possible Kane is innocent of the crime, he is still guilty of putting himself in a compromising situation. You’d think by now Kane would be steering clear from the “party-scene,” especially after he drunkenly attacked a cab driver in 2009 over not receiving proper change, which ended up only being $0.20 short.

Premier players like Kane should be less concerned with going out and having a good time and more focused on respecting the responsibility they hold as franchise players.

According to an article on Chicago Business’ website, during the 2014-2015 NHL season, Kane’s jersey was the fifth best seller. The top two jerseys sold last year held the names of Sidney Crosby and Pavel Datsyuk, two players that have pristine images in the eyes of the fans.

Players like Crosby and Datsyuk have maintained good reputations through their own behavior as well as their service to the community, something Kane should consider taking up, rather than going out and finding trouble.

While Kane, at 26, may be young and it may be natural for him to spend his time at bars and meeting women, he really should consider laying low. Being a professional athlete, and being arguably one of the most well-known current NHL players, he should begin focusing on avoiding these kinds of situations.

And now that Kane is in another one of these situations, he feels like he can get away with it. Historically, athletes have been perceived as being above the law, and Kane is no different. In an interview earlier in September, he spoke about the case and apologized for any inconveniences affecting his family and his team. He neglected to mention his alleged victim, and appeared to be quite sure of himself.

“I am confident that when all the facts come to light, I will be absolved,” Kane said.

If it weren’t for his already tarnished reputation, it may be easier to believe that Kane is innocent of these charges. Many support Kane in his denial of the event, and those on his side believe that the young woman has falsely accused him in order to damage his image or to collect money in a potential lawsuit.

It’s hard not to sympathize with the alleged victim. With many reports not taking her accusations seriously, and if the rape charges are true, this young woman must be damaged by the lack of public support.

Professional athletes must stop putting themselves in these types of situations by condoning reckless lifestyles. If Kane hadn’t been out that night, his reputation wouldn’t be on the line. But he was, and fans and the NHL should keep that in mind.

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