Alright, that’s not exactly what CBS Chicago’s Tim Baffoe has to say in Friday’s op-ed, but in the wake of Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane (above) being named the subject of a sexual assault investigation in Hamburg, NY, Baffoe insists, “you need to stop with the garbage default setting of rushing to defend him.”
The reflex of “Leave Kaner alone—you’re ruining his reputation!” or anything remotely putting the onus on the woman involved shows you’ve let sports fandom strip you of your humanity. Your ethics have grown so out of whack while drunk on being a fangirl or fanboy that you’ve drowned your soul. You value sports over violation of the human body, and you then become no different than, say, a defender of Joe Paterno. If Patrick Kane were not famous and a name on the local news, your consideration would be vastly different. Don’t lie to yourself. Same if he just played hockey in a different sweater.
Mike Ribiero sounds like a truly awful monster, and he gains further monster status more conveniently because he plays for the rival Nashville Predators. Jokes about Ben Roethlisberger and vitriol toward Floyd Mayweather are all so comfortable because there’s not much connection to those guys from over here. It’s easy to be disgusted at Baltimore Ravens fans defiantly wearing Ray Rice jerseys. They don’t “represent Chicago,” as is comfortable to say when a team wins or an athlete does society some good.
Now the badness is in your backyard, and regardless of what actually happened between Kane and his accuser, regardless of the outcome of the investigation, the situation is going to get worse before it gets better. And you’re at a crossroads for which you must make a choice that defines you and your morals. A human highlight reel who just hoisted the Stanley Cup and had sports fans here at the highest of highs may have done something really terrible. He is a sports star who has embarrassed and compromised his employer—again. Only this time an alleged victim now finds herself against the almost-never sympathetic sporting world and vicious misogynistic Internet that has already begun its detestable attack on her as-of-now-anonymous self in defense of their sports hero almost-friend and their own selfishness and ignorance.