Patrick Kane and the PR nightmare

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Professional sports team have PR departments. Usually, they’re meant to foster good will amongst the community and to get people’s butts in seats. Unfortunately, sometimes they have to play cover-up to their athletes’ questionable actions. Each professional sports league’s had a guy to goof up, not realizing that as a public entertainment figure people assume that they give up their right to privacy. Even the quietest indescretions are public knowledge, though I’m not sure if I’d say Patrick Kane’s indiscretions are quiet.

Previously known for being involved in an altercation with a Buffalo cab driver over twenty cents, and also for being possibly buzzed at the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup parade in 2010, Patrick Kane was at it again at a University of Wisconsin fraternity party on Cinco de Mayo. Apparently, according to photos and accounts at Deadspin, he was at it again also at local bars around the campus. Lots of people noticed, because, you know, he’s Patrick Kane. Of course, when you pose for photos and hang out with large groups of possibly drunk people on a made-up holiday (unless you’re in Puebla, which might be Kaner’s next stop), people are going to notice you. Your stupid behavior will become public. It’s a given, and a lesson that Kane should have learned a few years ago.

Unfortunately, what could be seen as indescretions or generally douchey behavior by a normal 20-something year old guy isn’t that when it’s coming from a millionaire hockey player. Sure, we all did stupid things when we were younger. Guys (and ladies), I know for a fact that a lot of you probably went to bars, got drunk, and made a fool out of yourselves. That’s fine, because stories about your night didn’t wind up on a nationally read website. When you’re a guy like Patrick Kane, who is basically a celebrity, you have to have at least a voice in the back of your head going “Hey, bud. This might not be the best idea. People will see you.”

People are either outraged over Kane’s behavior or think it’s hysterical. Aside from the reported anti-Semitic comments and the fact that he allegedly tried to choke a girl, I suppose it could be the latter. The Blackhawks’ point of view is… well, nothing yet, because they’re not commenting on it. And they shouldn’t. Their PR department shouldn’t have to cover up for one of their players, because the player should know that some things are just not the best idea to do. The Hawks are being mum and focusing on hockey off-season things. Kane hasn’t commented either, probably because there’s really nothing that he can say to make his public perception any better or worse. Most Blackhawks fans probably feel that as long as he isn’t pulling these stunts during the regular season, it doesn’t matter. It might not, but it’s also not a good thing to see “Chicago Blackhawks star forward…” in every article written when Kane does something of questionable judgement. The team might not address this specific issue in public, but they’d be foolish not to have a sit-down talk with Kane to explain that what he does in public reflects on the team for some people. Next time Kaner goes out, he could do something that the Hawks’ PR department will have to make a statement on, and that would be an unfortunate situation for all.

About Laura Astorian

Laura Astorian is the head editor for the SB Nation blog St. Louis Game Time and has been a Blues fan from childhood. She promises that any anti-Blackhawks bias will be left at the door. Maybe.