An Open Letter to Chicago Blackhawks Fans

Patrick Kane hoists Stanley Cup at the Blackhawks’ Championship Rally this past June

Photo by Mary Kroeck

Patrick Kane hoists Stanley Cup at the Blackhawks’ Championship Rally this past June

Mary Kroeck

By the time this goes to print, there may or may not be more details about Patrick Kane’s assault allegations. There may or may not be more evidence that points to his guilt or to his innocence. However, the one thing many of us know is that we’re disappointed.

For the record: I am a hockey-loving, cheer-the-anthem-clapping, “Chelsea Dagger” singing, shout-at-the-television-watching, number-19-sweater-wearing-kind of woman. I lived in that sweater throughout the playoffs – even when it was crazy hot or raining outside. Why? Because I support the Blackhawks. What I do not and cannot support, is any act of severe misconduct committed by any of the players. That being said, we should not be running to Kane’s defense. We also should not make the assumption that the accuser is using Kane as a strategy for a quick payout. We weren’t there, and we are not conducting the investigation.

No matter the results, we may never know what exactly happened in the alleged assault. Unfortunately, we live in a society where Hero-worship is alive and well. No one wants to see those put on a pedestal revealed as anything less than superhuman. However, athletes are people – not gods. They are people who are fallible, make mistakes and sometimes make questionable choices.

However, we shouldn’t burn our Blackhawks sweaters just yet, even if they do have the number 88 on the back. They’re generally pretty expensive. More than that, the actions of one should not make up the opinion of the whole. There are 19 other men on the Blackhawks roster who aren’t under police investigation; 19 other men who worked really hard to get where they are as professional athletes.

While we wait on the results of the investigation, I urge everyone to get more informed about rape, rape culture and consensual sex in general. John Oliver recently tackled the topic of Sex Ed in America on his HBO show, “Last Week Tonight” and did a remarkable job of not only reporting the disparities of how sexual education is taught in this country, but also got some well-known celebrities to help him create a PSA about sex – one that includes the topic of consent. Maybe if that episode had aired just a few weeks sooner, I wouldn’t be writing this letter, you wouldn’t be reading it, and we all would still be looking forward to our chance to party with The Cup.