Patrick Kane has learned his lesson.
Too bad it only took a three-month-long rape investigation.
As the investigation into his alleged sexual assault came to a close on Nov. 5, the 26-year-old hockey phenom said, “I did nothing wrong,” in a statement released through the Chicago Blackhawks.
It’s true that the allegations didn’t hold, and the court cleared him of all charges, but this is not the first time Kane’s party lifestyle has landed him in trouble or in the courtroom.
When he was 20 years old, Kane was arrested for an altercation with a cab driver in which the cab driver was grabbed by the throat and had his glasses broken. Kane pleaded guilty to noncriminal disorderly conduct.
“Obviously, I’m in a little different situation than most kids at this age, but at the same time I think it’s definitely been a learning lesson and something I want to move forward on,” Kane said before his sentencing. “It’s maybe better I learn it now than later in life.”
He said this just five months before he was in trouble again, but this time with the press. Pictures of an intoxicated and shirtless Kane partying in a limo surfaced after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup.
He spent a few years out of the public eye, but in 2012, he was again the subject of public scrutiny for a wild Cinco de Mayo at the University of Wisconsin. Some would say getting wildly intoxicated on a college campus is normal behavior for a 23-year-old, but Kane was no normal 23-year-old.
During that weekend, he was accused of trying to choke a girl at a sorority party and being offensive and inflammatory in the things he was saying, according to Yahoo! News. Although he was not formally charged with anything, he described the weekend as embarrassing in a later press conference.
At this time, he again said he wanted to leave behind his partying past.
Three years later though, Kane found himself in the courtroom again due to alleged bad behavior as the result of alcohol. In a Nov. 7 press conference, Kane’s lawyer said Kane had learned his lesson. He said Kane did not want to put his family, his team or his reputation through anything like this ever again.
Twenty-six is by no means a wise old age, but how many times does Kane need to end up in the press or courtroom before he realizes his social life is under a microscope? There are only so many times people can write off his behavior to immaturity.
Eventually, these incidents will truly affect Kane. Although he’s locked into an eight-year, multi-million dollar contract and won’t have to worry about money, his public image will affect his standing with endorsements, according to Forbes.
This only makes sense. As he ages, companies are going to be turned off by the long rap sheet. It’s no longer “boys being boys” — it’s lawsuits and scandals. At the end of his contract with the Blackhawks, Kane will be 33. Kane’s continued involvement in numerous scandals will become a liability for the team and possibly tarnish the Blackhawks’ good standing with fans and the NHL.
In addition, Kane is supposed to be a role model. Whether he likes it or not, his desireable skill on the ice puts him in a position where he can influence people, for better or for worse.
His remorse for the situation seems sincere this time, but it’s nothing we haven’t heard before. We can only hope this last incident finally hit rock bottom, and Kane can arise as a new, exponentially more mature, public figure.