There are a number of problems with the way we as a society react when we hear rumors of rape, especially when the allegations involve a professional athlete.
Patrick Kane is no different.
As most sports fans know by now, Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane is facing the music after allegations that he raped a woman on Aug. 1. There’s no doubt that it’s a serious issue, but the way some outlets are handling the situation is dead wrong.
The Buffalo News was the first to break the story that quickly caught on nationwide, but in the days following, they’ve also made some terrible decisions as to what to put in their paper regarding the incident. They interviewed Mark Croce, the owner of the nightclub that Kane had been drinking at the night of the alleged incident.
“It was almost like she stationed herself near him and was keeping other women away from him,” Croce said in The Buffalo News. “I noticed it and kind of laughed about it.”
Writer Brian Moritz called the paper out for it, calling it “irresponsible journalism”, and I completely agree. They were not able to confirm that the woman in question was the same woman who was allegedly raped. Because of that, the quote has no place in the article. Moritz says it and I do as well; it implies that the woman was asking for it and blames the victim. The last thing that I would do if it were put in the sports reporter’s hands is take out that quote that does not verify who the victim was, because all it implies is that being a little flirty means that they want sex.
The other problem I have with the reaction to the allegations is also the jump to conclusions that Kane did do it in the first place. EA Sports announced Wednesday that in light of recent events, Kane will not be an official spokesperson for NHL 16, nor will he be on the cover of the game. The original artwork was going to be a picture of Kane and his teammate Jonathan Toews hoisting the cup. Now, it is just Toews.
Many are expecting that Kane will be suspended while the investigation is going on. From a PR perspective, I can understand that to sell copies of the game, they can have just one player who was already on the cover from the same team, rather than run the risk of having someone on there who in a few months time could be one of the most hated players in the NHL. However, let the man play.
I had the same problem with NASCAR’s decision regarding Kurt Busch’s alleged assault at Dover International Speedway last September. It’s as if innocent until proven guilty was wiped completely away in these cases.
Kane has yet to be charged with a crime, as officials are still waiting on forensic results to come out.
Ryan DeCosta is a sports reporter for The Tribune and The Yadkin Ripple. He can be reached at email@example.com, 336-258-4052 or via Twitter @rsdecosta.