When To Retire A T-Shirt
Recently, yet another professional athlete found himself the target of troubling accusations. Patrick Kane, a 3-time Stanley Cup winner for the Chicago Blackhawks, is being investigated by police for allegations of sexual assault. He's yet to be charged with a crime, but it's definitely time for me to get that Patrick Kane t-shirt out of rotation!
I'm a Blackhawks fan, and I've enjoyed watching their ascension to the top of the NHL. In recent years, my wife and I have made trips to Chicago, St. Paul and St. Louis to watch our favorite team. We have some Blackhawks memorabilia, a few shirts and a couple trinkets here and there. However, I like to think that I have a healthy level of sports fandom. I don't paint my face, I don't lose sleep when my team loses and I don't have tattoos devoted to any sports team. I also don't view these athletes as superheroes. In my younger days, maybe I spent too much time and energy on being a fan. As I've gotten older, I realize it's just entertainment, a distraction, games played by imperfect human beings. I view sports as a kind of male soap opera. Teams want fans because they want your money. When they say, "I wanna thank the fans, without them this wouldn't be possible", they're paying you lip service.
The news of Kane is sort of a first for me. I can't think of an example where a superstar on a team I liked was in the news for something this (allegedly) hideous. I know there are Blackhawks fans that immediately went on defense, not wanting something to potentially derail their beloved Blackhawks. When somebody wants a rape allegation to just go away so it doesn't affect their team, that person needs a reality check.
My Kane t-shirt was a gift. It was given to me by a family member that knew I was a Blackhawks fan. However, while I'm impressed and entertained by what Kane does on the ice, I've always found his behavior off the ice to be like the worst kind of frat boy douche. There were stories before the recently alleged sexual assault of drunken stupidity, youthful arrogance, and questionable treatment of women. I hope he's innocent because I hope no felony took place... not because he's vital to my team's chances at a championship next year.
Whatever the outcome, Kane has already taken a hit. Sponsors are keeping a close eye on the investigation. He was removed from the EA Sports "NHL 16" cover. And now, I'm sorry to say, I'm not wearing his stupid-ass t-shirt.