When the news broke regarding the sexual assault allegations against Buffalo Sabres winger Evander Kane, many fans took to social media to voice their opinions. Some compared Evander to Patrick Kane, who was accused of sexual assault last year, due to their last names, the nature of the charges against the both of them and a connection to the city of Buffalo.
Patrick Kane, a Buffalo native, is white. Evander is black.
Some fans shrugged their shoulders and figured that Evander’s accuser is simply looking for a come-up. Others offered support. Some went racial. The most vocal voices came from fans of the Winnipeg Jets, his previous team.
Evander Kane was the highest drafted Black player in NHL history when the Atlanta Thrashers (Now Winnipeg Jets) took the Vancouver, British Columbia native fourth overall in the 2009 draft.
Only hardcore hockey fans know who this particular Kane is. However, there’s a history of how Black players have been covered in the Canadian media. Often times, they are perceived as “flashy” and “outspoken”, a veiled, racially motivated diss that is often directed at many NBA players
Hockey fans, particularly Canadian fans, want their hockey players to be team-orientated and say as little to the media as possible. In hockey culture, there’s one thing a player can never do -- have a personality.
Kane has plenty of it. From this clip from Barstool Sports, you wouldn’t be able to tell that he plays hockey:
Due to how he has been written about, he has often intimated that fans and Western Canadian media did not understood him because he is Black. For proof, check out the comment section on any article written about him.
In an October interview with the Winnipeg Free Press, Kane said, “There are lots of guys I could point to that everybody knows publicly who have done a lot worse or been accused of doing a lot worse things than I have. But they don't look like me. Jealousy is a disease. It really is.”
Kane might’ve been referring to Thomas Steen, a Jets legend, who was arrested last year in a domestic violence incident, or when his former Jets teammate and goalie Ondrej Pavelec was arrested for a DUI back in 2012.
A fair question to ask Jets fans is how Kane would be perceived if he won three Stanley Cups, like Patrick Kane has.
Recent events have not helped his cause with fans in Winnipeg. After all, some of them have made a strange and predictable juxtaposition between Kane’s inconsistent play with the Jets and the sexual assault allegations:
evander kane is a terrible human being winnipeg said. all he cares about is money, fame and himself winnipeg said... pic.twitter.com/CfbPbde8rI— ren (@jvreims) December 19, 2015
Jets fans are saying that we don’t know Kane like they do. Maybe they had a cousin who might’ve seen him skip out on a check, frowned upon him doing push-ups on stacks of money or they look at the track suit incident as a someone who would eventually end up on the wrong side of the law.
(Photo Credit: USA Today)
Ultimately, they don’t know him any more than we do. Kane, who knew when he was traded to Buffalo that he has some image-rebuilding to do, recently said, “I just want to say I’ve done nothing wrong. I look forward to clearing my name. I respect the legal process and unfortunately at this time there’s not much more I can talk about.”
It appears that the fans in Winnipeg are still sore about what Kane said about them. As you can see, when a player doesn’t pan out, fans will rip them no matter what. Many of them are letting his play with Jets cloud their judgment on a serious issue:
Evander Kane is the most selfish player I've seen- He's also being given a free pass so he's allowed to think he's better than the next guy— Steve Murphy (@murf_dogg) January 6, 2016
Just like Patrick Kane’s case, we don’t know what really happened. However, that didn’t stop any of us from having an opinion either way. After all, Buffalo-born Kane got the benefit of a doubt from many hockey fans due to his stature.
Let’s learn from the NHL’s most recent media fail when it comes to a serious issue. After all, the NHL, along with the Chicago Blackhawks, allowed Kane to play and be around the team while the sexual allegations against him were still up in the air.
Next, lets help the fans in Winnipeg use some critical thinking skills. Just because Evander didn’t live up to their expectations doesn’t mean he’s guilty of the allegations.
That’s just silly.
They ought to sound more like sports fans instead of a jilted lover.
In some cases, most notably recent events, it is hard to tell which is which.