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Christine Brennan of USA Today wrote this very interesting article, talking about Blackhawks' superstar player Patrick Kane. For those that haven't been following Kane's story line since he and his team won the Stanley Cup, he has since been entrenched in a rape allegation case. And this case is still ongoing.
Question is, should the NHL suspend Kane indefinitely, at least until the court comes to a decision? Before you answer though, consider that Kane has not been arrested nor convicted of any charges. As of right now, he is still technically 'innocent until proven guilty'.
But the worst thing for everyone involved in the sport is to allow Kane to play as if he is innocent, only to realize weeks or even likely months far into the season that he is in fact a guilty man. Guilty of a terrible, horrible, inexcusable crime. And you let him play..
So, is it best to suspend Kane with pay (as Brennan demands in her article) until the allegations come to some kind of reasonable conclusion, and then go from there? Or should Kane be allowed to act and live as a free and innocent man, until and if (only if) proven guilty?
I find this an incredibly difficult question to answer. On one hand, everyone unanimously agrees that rape is one of the absolute worst acts one human can do to another. And I think there are very few punishments that are too harsh for that crime. On the other hand though, if he is innocent, or for those innocent and in this situation in the future, a woman has far too much power to threaten any high profile athlete going forward if a player can be suspended from their sport without any proof or actual charge being put against them.
So what's the right call here? Right now the debate is: Should Kane be allowed to participate in the NHL Preseason? Come October 7th, it will shift into: Should Kane be allowed to play in the regular reason? And until we have a definitive ruling from the courts on this one, it will have to be a judgement call from the NHL. And this call could shake the entire NHL, if it turns out that Kane is guilty and they allow him to play for months.