Posted by kristi on August 14, 2015 in Blog
The Patrick Kane Investigation and The Injustice of Speculation: Are We All Just a Little Bit Guilty?
The Fans, the Media, the Sunday reader, and myself…we are all interested parties. We want the information and we want it now, but are we also a part of the problem? Has social media muddied the water too much.
Because of this voracious appetite for what we deem newsworthy, we have all begun to see ourselves as a judge, or a juror, maybe in some scary extremes the executioner, but in reality we are all enabling the biggest injustice to the victim and the guilty parties alike by casting shade in every direction.
Victim blaming, Hero worship, Bro Code, whatever you feel like calling it. What we all fail to realize is that these are not our friends or family and we are not helping. We are just begging for public opinion and outcry to fill our screens until there is real news. We are slaves to TMZ and any other outlet that has the “REAL” story.
We just simply propel the “he said/she said’ to the stratosphere and give voice to anyone who chooses to speculate, or profess blame or innocence.
Is Patrick Kane capable of such an act? If you’re a fan, maybe you vigilantly fall to his defense. If you’re a hater, he’s instantly culpable. If you’re a realist, its not entirely impossible to imagine either side being a possibility. But the truth is, the only people who really know what he is or is not capable of were in some unspecified room within his home that night…and last time I checked, neither one of them has said a single word to anyone outside of their tightly closed circles. And that’s the way it should be.
In a lot of ways, there is injustice simply in how much we all talk about it. How much everyone has speculated about who is to blame, or if someone deserved it. The answer is no victim deserves this. And keep in mind, it is still unclear exactly who the victim is. In many ways, they both will become victims of this speculation because innocent or guilty, neither one of their lives will ever be the same.
The day will never come when the word Rape is not associated with either party. The day will never come when someone doesn’t claim to know the “real” story or to find some way to lay blame at the feet of one party or the other. The day will never come when either party will step beyond the shadow cast by the moments that changed both of their lives, and that is a shame. No victim should be defined simply by a crime committed against them, and neither party will ever be seen as just a girl or just a hockey player ever again. For any victim, that will always be unfair.
How should we expect one person to bear the burden of a “hero’s” crime, constantly being blamed for taking down someone’s favorite son. And if the shoe is on the other foot, how can an athlete ever feel comfortable again, if they are to believe every person they share space with might have some ulterior motive in mind? The precedent works both ways in cases like this, because there will always be athletes or public figures who believe they are above the law, and there will always be people who might be willing to take advantage of an athlete or public figure. Regardless of status, no one should be above the law whether it is an average joe, a politician or a sports hero.
So what now, you might ask.
Well, the Sunday readers, they’ll move on to the next interesting topic with relative ease as a single sports star isn’t generally what they pick up the paper for, or hit the web to read about. They’re just passing through.
The Media? As long as someone chases the story, they will write it. Some more responsibly than others. Though, hopefully as the frenzy dies down there will be less talk about a bar owner speculating on who we should hold accountable, or how much someone had to drink, or if they did ‘molly’ and more on the real facts or nothing at all.
And the Fans? Well, here is what I propose to you as a fan myself. How about we focus on the things we know to be true. There is an entire National Hockey League out there. It is full of spectacular athletes, and a game that we all love, and it will still exist regardless of what occurred in Buffalo, NY on the eve of August 2nd. There will still be a Cup to be won, and for the Blackhawks a Cup to defend, with or without Patrick Kane.
And if you are wondering as to my stance on the whole thing, well here it is…if he’s found innocent then he should be allowed to play, if he so chooses. Whether in Chicago or another city. If he is found guilty, as with ANYONE else, then he should not be allowed to play in the NHL or anywhere else. And the courts should seek a suitable punishment for the crime, not the criminal or their status. I do not think that Patrick Kane or any other athlete should be given a free pass just because he is a great player and has earned the league a ton of money. Of course, it is highly unlikely that this will end in such black and white terms. So, I guess we will all just have to wait and see.
As a Hawks fan, this is what I am going to do…I am going to focus on the season ahead. The new players who are looking to make a big impact in the weeks and months ahead and the familiar faces who have been equally as important to our team.
I’ll watch the continuing evolution of the players we know can make an impact now, like Trevor Van Reimsdyk, Tuevo Teravainen, Trevor Daley and Artem Anisimov. I’ll anticipate the arrival of some new young guns that we are waiting to get our first look at like Marko Dano or Artemi Panarin, and of course I’ll be looking forward to seeing Toews, Keith, Seabrook, Crawford, Hjalmarsson and Hossa pick up where they left off again. Perhaps, that should be our focus now.
Look ahead, and remember that Patrick Kane is a part, but he is not the whole. We can choose not to diminish what has been built in Chicago because a key piece has been neutralized for a period of time or removed, whichever the case may be.
Chicago has faced this many times in recent years and whether we are prepared for it or not, losing Patrick Kane does not make Chicago the worst team in the league, just as his presence does not automatically make us the best team in the league. That is to be determined, not a forgone conclusion either way.
We still have a solid team and some up and coming young talent that can bring some excitement to this city! The day will come that Chicago plays without the services of Patrick Kane and if that day is upon us, then so be it. It seems a bit unfair to focus on how one person or one incident impacts the team, to do so implies that the rest of the Blackhawks need not show up if Kane were to return. It is after all still a team sport. And the rest of the boys who lace up their skates, and wear that Indian Head Sweater are no slouches, by any stretch.
The reality is that it is likely Kane, the Blackhawks, the NHL and the Fans will be faced with his absence in some respect, because no matter how much we focus our efforts on stealing every bit of gossip we can hunt down on the web this investigation will not be wrapped up in a neat little bow in six weeks, just in time for training camp to start. Whether he is found guilty, innocent or somewhere in between, his time in Chicago and the league will be forever changed.
We can all speculate, and converse at length about what happened or what will happen, but at the end of the day, don’t expect the Blackhawks or the league to go with the nuclear option and suspend Kane until the day that charges are handed down, or there is an admission of guilt, or a verdict of some kind. After all, the premiss of innocent until proven guilty is still a widely held ideal in the world today. And one that should be upheld among whatever speculation surrounds this case, or god forbid any others like it.
The shadow of doubt (no matter the ultimate verdict) will follow relentlessly, because both parties have already been tried in the court of public opinion. And unfortunately, neither one will come away looking spotless, because opinion is much more flawed than fact, and the facts may never be presented to the general public. I’m not sure they should be…some things should be kept among the parties involved, letting the opinions rest and the facts pave the way. That may be the only justice here.