It didn’t take long for the Sun-Times’ Neil Hayes to put Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane in his place. At 20-years-old, Kane is facing a felony charge allegedly over a $0.20 dispute with a 62-year-old Buffalo cab driver. According to police, the driver claims he was roughed up enough to have had his glasses broken.
Now one of the franchise’s poster boys, one of the ‘‘core’’ players the team is determined to build around, is arrested for roughing up a cabbie who couldn’t produce exact change after Kane gave him $15 for a $13.80 fare. That’s right, Hawks fans, your millionaire, high-scoring forward — who is due a lucrative contract after next season — is accused of becoming unhinged when a cab driver couldn’t find two dimes to rub together.
Let’s hope there are facts in this story that have yet to surface and will cast Kane in a less humiliating light. Otherwise, this could be the most worrisome offseason development of all for the Hawks. If true, how can anyone defend such idiotic behavior from someone so prominent in the organization?
Only two things can prevent Kane, Jonathan Toews, Kris Versteeg and other young players from becoming cornerstones: injuries or their inability to mature on and off the ice. That Kane would be accused of something so asinine does not mean that this will be the first of many such incidents. Kane has been a model citizen to this point, as far as anyone knows, and probably deserves the benefit of the doubt for that reason. The Hawks declined to comment publicly until more facts are known. Kane’s mother, when contacted by the Sun-Times, did the same, which is probably wise. But this is not a good sign.
No, it’s not a good sign. The Blackhawks need to comment. The ‘Hawks need to tell us that this type of alleged behavior is not fitting for a member of their organization. The ‘Hawks need to send a message loud and clear to other young people — and adults — that this is not the way to handle a petty dispute.
“No comment” isn’t enough.
The bottom line is, good as he is, Kane has to improve markedly for he and the Hawks to be the player and team they aspire to be. There are better ways to build strength, toughness and refine his all-around game than playing enforcer with cab drivers three times his age at 4 a.m. after a night on the town.
Kane reportedly has entered a plea of not guilty. If this case goes to trial, those who believe he is less star than product of NHL rule changes meant to encourage more speed and scoring might suggest he show the jury his career highlights to prove he is incapable of causing bodily harm. Then again, he could’ve avoided the whole ugly episode had he uttered three simple words that every millionaire athlete should use in such situations: Keep the change.
Look, young people act stupidly sometimes. So do adults. But a millionaire allegedly roughing up a cab driver over $0.20 takes entitlement to a whole new level.
Step up, kid. You’re not the man yet.