I promised long ago, back in the days of summer, that I wouldn’t write things out of a blind rage anymore. It wasn’t productive. So I waited a day to address everything that went on with Sports Illustrated and the NHL itself until today. But it can’t go without comment. Because most of it is nothing short of disgusting.
I was going to give the S.I. “article” by S.L. Price the full Fire Joe Morgan treatment, but it’s far too long for that. But there are some sections that need tearing apart. Probably too many to get to. But let me try anyway.
“It was disheartening,” says Kevin Kerr, Kane’s youth travel team coach. Finally, after enduring the booing from a man a few seats over for a bit, Kerr turned and said, “What is wrong with you people?”
Well this is certainly an unbiased opinion. While we’ve remarked that the booing of Kane in opposing arenas doesn’t really serve the cause of rape victims and their supporters, it does stem from that. And seeing as how we’re talking about a guy with a reputation for being an entitled shitbag who not so long ago beat up an older cab driver IN BUFFALO, perhaps they just had enough? Hmm?
Within the first few paragraphs, Price repeats over and over phrases like “lack of evidence, forensic evidence, exoneration” which is really spiking the football. It seems clear that Price wants us to know that not only was Kane not charged, the accuser was a liar. So that’s helpful to any future victims of any athlete.
(It’s at this point that I’m sure lots would like to point out that the D.A. claimed he would have filed false report charges against the accuser, but didn’t want to scare off future victims. This is a load of bullshit you’d need a forklift (no, not him) to carry. One: that’s a dereliction of his job and two, he did a fine job of scaring off any future victim by his touchdown dance press conference and the police department he works with leaking everything to the press. Funny, the accusations against Jameis Winston ended with a dog and pony show of a press conference too and no charges. I bet a majority of the Kane fanboys think he’s guilty. What could the difference be, you think?)
Bennett texted him after: “What did you think of all that booing?” Kane gave the same answer that he gives now.
“I love it,” he says.
Does everyone realize what a frightening and abhorrent thought this is? So now accusations of rape aren’t only not taken all that seriously by police, fans, and the league, they’re actually fodder for motivation? This is something athletes can invite and feed off of? Does everyone understand how awful this sounds to a lot of people? That it’s just another chip on his shoulder, an obstacle to be overcome and triumphed for a sociopath like this?
“They’ve got a special culture,” says NHL coaching great Scotty Bowman, a local since 1980. “They are different. If you’re from South Buffalo—or you’re accepted there—you’re a different kind of guy.”
We’re learning that, aren’t we?
Also, there’s a lot of puff here about Kane’s father, and if you know anything about his father’s behavior around here (and you don’t have to dig all that much) this is pretty fucking hilarious.
“A remarkable organization, a model organization,” said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly afterward. “I wish I had 29 more like it.”
You do, Bill. And that’s not a good thing. Because you’ve let them be like that and actively encouraged it.
Speaking of the organization, we get a quote from Rocky Wirtz saying that after they talked to the lawyer and saw some evidence, they were confident in backing Kane. Hey Rock, if that were the case why did you let it slip to NHL Network’s EJ Hradek that you didn’t really want Kane at training camp after that Press Conference Of the Absurd? If you were so behind him why did you want that in the bloodstream? Seems to me these both can’t be true. Never let it be said the Hawks don’t get their hindsight perfect.
So then we get to Price’s description of the night, where Kane’s police buddy/fixer/King Fanboy gets to do his whole song and dance, more spiking of the football. Again, Price seems deadset on not only exonerating Kane but making him out to be the true victim and a heavenly creature, when we know that’s not the case in the latter. Look at the bullhorn everyone on that side gets. What did the accuser get? What does any accuser get? Where is there cover story and someone speaking for them? Ha, what a stupid question.
This yesterday was combined with the NHL coming out to say the accusations were “unfounded,” though they could have been using a legal term in a PR release but the effect is the same. Seriously, was there one person who was aware that the NHL was still conducting an “investigation?” There almost certainly wasn’t one who gave a shit, and there for sure wasn’t one who thought they’d come up with anything different.
My questions is why? Why is it so important to rehab Kane’s image? Because we know for the most part, most fans just didn’t care. He was cheered as soon as he stepped on the ice in South Bend. The Hawks and the NHL haven’t made one less dollar over all of this. There was no effort like this for Drew Doughty, who in some ways is having the same remarkable season. Is it because he plays in the hockey hinterlands of L.A.? Because he doesn’t come with the previous rep of being a shitbag? Why? And nowhere does it mention them even considering talking to the accuser, who I’m sure wanted no more part of it after all she’s had to put up with.
What does SI get out of this? Actually, I know. Slap a Blackhawk on anything and just about every one here will gobble it up. But isn’t it a national magazine? Is it that vital to explain to a mostly uncaring nation that Kane is the one wronged here? What kind of message is that? While there’s a difference between this and Daniel Holtzclaw and SB Nation and this, a huge difference at that in that he’s a convicted rapist, the lessons are still similar. Does SI really need to appeal to the bar-STOOL and Sporps Fuckery crowd so badly? Maybe they do, they clearly run things on the sports internet now.
You want to yell at me and everyone else for looking at Kane and the Hawks with even the slightest amount of pause. But we’re not the one who have fucked up so royally the treatment of rape and rape case by the leagues, the teams, the justice system, and the culture. If even a majority of accusations saw an accuser just get her or his day in court, not even convictions but just a chance for a case to be presented (especially agains the rich and famous), we wouldn’t be looking at Kane this way. Ones that didn’t make it to court we could dismiss as many have done already in this one. But they don’t, whatever figure or percentage you believe, the simple fact is they don’t. If you want to say Kane is a “victim” of all that injustice, fine I guess? But that in no way compares to the injustice and unfairness of the thousands of women and men who have their lives ruined and are basically forced to suffer in silence.
And this is all so unnecessary. Kane’s play on the ice has taken care of almost all of this. The Hawks, the NHL, and the media could have simply left it alone and eventually it would all fade into the background, as sad as that is. It would have just taken time. Why the rush job? For those of us who are even the slightest bit conflicted over all this (and it’s far more to do with the team’s, league’s, and fans’ handling of it than the actual case which I’ll have to keep repeating until I asphyxiate apparently), not only are we being told we’re wrong but we’re being told we actually have no right to feel the way we do. And most of us are watching the Hawks anyway. I’m still writing about them. There I was Sunday being brought out of my seat by his rush down the right wing on Petr Mrazek before I realized who it was and paused. And that’s all I ask, that all of us are allowed that feeling of conflict. And for people to understand why, even if they don’t agree. And there just aren’t that many of us. We are a minority in the extreme. Perhaps a loud one, but still one.
And don’t give me his innocence, if that’s how you insist on describing it, suddenly justifies everything that went on before. It doesn’t not retroactively absolve the behavior of fans, team, and league. Because everyone was screaming the same bullshit the news dropped in August. I’ve only been screaming that for months.
I don’t know why the NHL thinks it needs Kane’s image to be clean so badly. Then again, this is the NHL so they’d fuck up Jesus being their leading scorer. Don’t tell me his reputation was sullied and in need of saving. We know what the reactions of the home fans were. He was booed in opposing arenas for years. Nothing’s changed for him. He’s got his millions too. Oh, he couldn’t play in his local beer league? Wow, Job ain’t got nothing on him.
This isn’t to indict Kane, it really isn’t, though I’m sure many will read it that way. There are dozens of things that could have happened that night, and considering the condition you usually find yourself at 3 or 4 am, that could be misinterpreted or remembered wrongly. And many of them wouldn’t leave a trace or even seem wrong, especially not to someone like Kane. But look at what the world learns from this. Accuse a star athlete of wrongdoing, of violating you, and not only will you have little chance of getting your day in court, your life will be ruined by harassment from his supporters simply because he scores goals or touchdowns, your personal life torn apart, but you will see months later that he is championed and celebrated for overcoming you. You were nothing more than something in the way to glory. You are not a person. You’re a speed bump. You’re a tollbooth. You have no voice. You have no feelings, and if you did they don’t matter because you don’t score goals. He will be on the cover of magazines and win awards. You will be lucky if you can leave the house and live your life in your home. And anyone who tries to sympathize with you will be vilified.
Best of luck.