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Sports Column: Patrick Kane's case needs to be investigated harder

Patrick Kane's case needs to be further investigated. 

The past few weeks while walking around campus, I have seen a plethora of Patrick Kane jerseys, mostly worn by male students. But one in particular being worn by a female student struck me.

Kane, a Chicago Blackhawks forward, is under investigation on suspicion of sexually assaulting a young woman this summer at his home in Buffalo, New York.

This is common knowledge for anyone who loosely follows the National Hockey League, or maybe people who have just heard it on ESPN or social media. It truly baffles me that a young woman could walk around campus bearing the name of a man accused of raping another young woman.

This is a university that strives everyday to educate its students on putting an end to sexual assault within its campus, so I find it ironic and a little disturbing that someone would wear the name of an accused rapist proudly around, whether it’s out of ignorance or simply not caring.

Athletes are looked up to, often with good reason; I myself am an admirer of many athletes, loving sports as much as I do. But the problem comes in when we treat them as idols who can do no wrong. I know for a fact if my favorite player was being accused of a horrible crime, I would take time to learn all of the facts. I might even hang up the jersey in the back of my closet for a while: it’s just not worth it.

How else can you show that you don’t condone this behavior, that you will not support a franchise that does not seem to respect women in general, if you don’t say to yourself, “this is enough, I will not blindly follow these public figures.”  

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Kane has had the infamous reputation as the “party boy” of the NHL since he was arrested in New York back in 2009. Later, in Madison, Wisconsin, Kane was allegedly thrown out of a Kappa Sigma fraternity party after choking a girl when she didn’t appear to be interested in him.

This did not keep the fans away. If anything, it made Kane more popular. It became a game to try and piece together his drunken weekends, while only earning him a slap on the wrist from Blackhawks PR.

But Kane spent the last season assuring the public that he wasn’t the same guy that he had been; he had grown up, and people noticed. That was, until the Hawks won the Stanley Cup last season, when Kane infamously stated before the championship parade, “I know you said I’ve been growing up, but watch out for me the next week.”

It’s almost creepy how the events of the summer played out after this proclamation was made, but things got worse than just Kane’s liver wimping out on him. Instead the reported rape happened, the investigation began, a press release was written and Kane’s month long silence prevailed.

Now, with opening week over, there is a dark cloud of uncertainty and doubt looming over the organization. The Blackhawks took no action involving Kane: no suspension, no sanctions. Instead he was allowed at training camp, and chillingly cheered on as the Hawks raised the Stanley Cup at the Chicago Bears game last week.

I think that’s what gets me about this whole investigation. It is seemingly nonchalant, and things are being brushed off so casually it leaves a knot in my stomach.

These athletes are fallible, and it is not totally out of the realm of possibility that they could commit horrendous crimes and do horrible things.

That can’t be forgotten in this mess of admiration and ignorance. Kane could be a criminal that we fight so hard to keep off of our college campuses, or he could be innocent. Regardless, if a rape investigation isn’t enough to keep a player off the ice (or field, court, etc.,) what is?


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