Kids will be kids. They have to make some mistakes in order to learn. Everyone’s different, but when you’re one of the highest paid, high-profile players on the Chicago Blackhawks, the behavioral margin for error is slim.
When I first heard that Patrick Kane attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s annual Mifflin Street Block Party, which happened to coincide with Cinco de Mayo, I wondered what shenanigans of his would be on the Internet the next day. Unfortunately, this is the kind of behavior fans have come to expect from him.
We all know that Kane began his NHL career young and is still just 23 years old. Coincidentally, he also has a reputation for drinking and partying. In 2009, he was accused of beating up a cab driver over a disputed 20 cents. Now, there are questionable photos of him floating all over the Internet from his eventful weekend in Madison.
The website that posted the photos, Deadspin.com, has anonymous sources claiming that Kane got kicked out of a party for choking a woman and also made anti-Semitic remarks. While Kane did not get arrested and these sources are by no means reliable, it makes one wonder what really happened that weekend and why Kane feels this kind of behavior is acceptable.
A recent article in the Chicago Tribune recalls Kane speaking about his maturity back in January: “When you’re 18, 19 you think you know everything but you have no clue about anything. I feel way, way more grown up than I used to be.”
Patrick Kane and the Blackhawks organization have made no comments about the recent events, and it’s disheartening to think that Kane has had many opportunities to learn from past mistakes. He’s obviously saying one thing to the media and then completely negating that with his actions.
I understand that Kane is young and this is what young people do, but that’s not an excuse anymore. There are plenty of young athletes who have to grow up fast to make it professionally. Take Derrick Rose, who is just 46 days older than Kane. Both were thrust into Chicago superstardom at a young age, but now Rose and Kane appear as polar opposites. While one has handled fame with grace and poise, the other has fallen victim to temptation and the freedom that money provides.
Kane has a rare opportunity, and with that $6 million he’s making, he has to make some sacrifices. Of course, there’s the argument of athletes being role models and whether that’s a fair responsibility for them to take on in their everyday lives, but I think the real issue is image and reputation.
Kane’s behavior reflects poorly on the Blackhawks organization and the team. He’s projecting an attitude of indifference toward consequences and repercussions. Even worse, Kane’s habits could also affect his game. If the Hawks decide they want to shed that attitude, many teams may not want to take on such a liability.
Jesse Rogers, who covers the Blackhawks for ESPN, said on the Waddle and Silvy radio show that if things with Kane don’t improve, it’s possible the Hawks may want him to get help. I think that might be the best solution and last chance to get Kane to see the error in his ways. He seems stubborn and nothing has clicked yet to inspire some change in him. In the end, it’ll come down to whether he’s really committed to improving his image, or whether it’s just talk. If he waits any longer, he could easily be partying himself out of a job.
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