As expected, very little detail emerged in the ongoing Patrick Kane rape investigation in Buffalo over the weekend. But what little did transpire does need to be discussed.
While most of the details were encapsulated in neat digest form in a Deadspin piece this morning, some of the particulars need to be discussed. First, disturbingly, is that the victim was reportedly found with bite and scratch marks upon her visit to the hospital in the aftermath of the incident. And there will not be use of the modifier “alleged” in this particular case. As we have had to learn first hand here, the argument of “Intent versus outcome” has to be adhered to. No matter what actually transpired between these two parties, or what anyone intended to have happen in this encounter, the outcome was such that the victim felt wronged enough to immediately seek out medical attention and allow herself to be subject to a rape kit while in the hospital, and whatever the the results of that examination were ended up being enough to compel a warrant and investigation of Kane’s home the same day as her admittance to a hospital. These new details certainly corroborate that established timeline.
Equally as disgusting is the Buffalo News’ inclusions of the comments from the owner of the bar where Kane was last Saturday night, Marc Croce of Sky Bar, who sounds like a real fucking scumbag here, which is all included in the very same article above. Croce serves up several hot platters of piping hot, victim blaming bullshit such as these:
“It was almost like she stationed herself near him and was keeping other women away from him,” Croce said. “I noticed it and kind of laughed about it.”
This is absolutely part of the problem. This is victim blaming. This is disgusting. And shame on the Buffalo News for allowing this troglodyte to speak. But this is only part of the problem. Croce goes on to spout more bullshit, in an out and out lie:
“I’ve got no skin in this game. I am only telling you what I observed,” Croce said. “(Kane) was acting like a typical young guy his age, out having fun with some of his buddies. A lot of people were coming up to him, asking to have pictures taken with him. He was a gentleman. Pat had a couple of drinks and maybe a couple of shots. He was having a good time, but he wasn’t stumbling or doing anything obnoxious.”
This is patently false. As Alan Bedenko goes on to illustrate in his excellent piece, Croce absolutely has a manifold stake in this. First, Kane is a multimillion dollar customer with a penchant for consuming mass quantities, and he was to have his Cup party there this past weekend before all of this came raining down, so he has a direct monetary loss to cover. Secondly, from a civil suit standpoint, Croce can be found liable if Kane was knowingly over-served and ended up committing a felony in that wake. It is a reprehensible miscarriage of journalistic integrity by the Buffalo News that his quotes were even ran because of this conflict of interest, not to mention the contradictory qualifying statement he gave as a closer.
“I don’t know if this is the same woman who made the rape allegation against him,” Croce said. “I only know what I saw that night on my own premises. If you’re going to ask what happened between them after they left that night, how would I know?”
The bigger problem with this lies again in the rape culture, victim blaming, athlete worshipping society that we continue to exist in. Julie DiCaro published another excellent piece regarding the meaningful language surrounding cases like these (including, sadly, her own), even where one party involved is not famous. And it’s disgusting that this victim’s actions are called into question during that evening a) as if any of them equate to being deserving of being raped, or b) that Patrick Kane’s seven year track record of being an entitled, blind drunk fucking asshole are not.
And because of this, the longer this process is protracted, the better chance there is that there will be no charges brought, because that gives time for people to come out of the woodwork to shame and blame. It also allows more time for powers with much more financial and public relations stake to get their tendrils around it to make it go away. As DiCaro notes, it takes a truly stalwart soul to withstand this kind of onslaught even after being attacked and violated in such a horrific manner.
The takeaway from this mess should have nothing to do with hockey. The only hope is that the Blackhawks as an organization behave responsibly, particularly after having the light shone on their sexist practices of playing “The Stripper” for shoot the puck last year. But that’s a long shot at best given what is invested. And any fan’s feelings about having a star athlete who once brought so much joy having his reputation besmirched, being taken away, or having championship memories sullied do not trump those they should feel of revulsion watching this sad, textbook case of rape culture in action play out.