CHICAGO — Patrick Kane has not been charged with a crime, but already a defense is emerging for last week’s alleged rape of a woman at his home in suburban Buffalo.
The superstar of the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks hired an attorney, Paul Cambria, who should have followed the advice he gives clients: Stay out of the media. Cambria, best known as go-to lawyer for the porn industry, posted sentences in Facebook that make him look illiterate. He inserts an “i” into “wasted.” He thinks the contraction for “you are” is “your.”
But if accused of rape, I’m not hiring an English professor. I want an expert on sex law, as Cambria unquestionably is.
Also, Cambria helped Kane in 2009 with a plea bargain for “noncriminal” disorderly conduct after a cabbie testified that the hockey player beat him up in a dispute over 20 cents. Kane was said to be drunk at the time. I’ll give him this: he has the sense to call a cab or limousine service when impaired.
Perhaps the 26-year-old should hire a chaperone as well. There have been complaints in the past about Kane’s treatment of young women when he’s intoxicated, but now is the first time a police blotter has shown him accused of rape.
Twitter buzzes with the narrative that Kane and his accuser were in the cups, and not just the Stanley Cup, which was lent to him for celebration purposes.
Not too surprisingly, the owner of Skybar said Kane was well mannered while a woman – presumably either the one filing the complaint or her friend – “was hanging all over him” and being “very flirtatious.”
Kane’s chauffeur insisted the hockey player was a sober gentleman on the way to his home with his soon-to-be accuser. Cambria on Facebook defended the veracity, if not the objectivity, of the chauffeur.
The Chicago Sun-Times wrote of Blackhawks management fretting about Kane’s drinking problem. A column by the esteemed Mark Whicker in the LA Daily News was headlined: “Patrick Kane just another athlete whose partying may have led to worse.”
But consider a woman’s viewpoint, from Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune: “Drinking becomes an all too convenient excuse for inexcusable behavior. . . . When a woman drinks too much, many people say that’s the reason she was assaulted. When a man drinks too much, it’s an excuse for misconduct.”
Whicker and Ryan being exceptions, national media are undercovering this story. So much more was made of Kobe Bryant’s tryst in a Colorado hotel. Perhaps it’s because hockey is a distant fourth in American team sports’ popularity – behind football, basketball and baseball. Hence, less coverage of the bad as well as the good.
But this is the USA’s third-largest city,where the Blackhawks are almost as beloved as Chicago’s big-league football, baseball and basketball clubs. One reason being that for the past couple of decades the hockey team has been far more successful than the others.
With Kane as their on-ice leader and “Face of Hockey” the Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cups in six years.
Kane is handsome, red-headed, perhaps too red-blooded. Newspaper reporters and television crews are nervous about saying too much about an accusation against a sports icon that’s unlikely to result in a conviction. They have to deal with the inevitable complaints about Trial by Media
Reporters covering the story are not sure Kane will be charged. They expect Cambria to argue effectively enough that the sex was consensual, that the scratch and bite marks on her body just tell us how she likes it. He can say she plans to sue Kane and collect a huge settlement from the multimillionaire athlete, that this is not a case of rape but extortion.
Wealthy Americans, whether athletic or not, tend not to get convicted of crimes. But sometimes they don’t fare so well in the court of public opinion. Roger Goodell and the NFL were slow to recognize the significance of sports heroes mistreating women. Football – college as well as pro – hasn’t handled this issue so well.
Now it’s hockey’s turn.