At first, Tim Graham didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary. A professional athlete – especially one with Patrick Kane’s checkered past – was involved in an incident at a bar over the weekend.
That’s fairly standard stuff.
But then Graham started investigating.
“Well, I heard some rumors that he was involved with some sort of situation and he had been out at a bar over the weekend and had gotten into some trouble,” the Buffalo News sportswriter said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “And when you hear something like that – we hear gossip about that type of thing in Buffalo from the Bills or the Sabres players – and of course Patrick Kane is from Buffalo. So people run that past me all the time. I just assumed he got into a skirmish at a bar or got into a fight. I checked up on it just to see if it was anything serious. Couldn’t find out anything about it (Wednesday).”
Then the report came out.
“A report came out officially that he was being investigated by the Hamburg Police Department,” Graham said. “Hamburg – and it should be noted – is (a) suburb in Buffalo. It’s right next to Orchard Park, where the Bills play. So it’s a place where a lot of Bills players live, and this is a police department that’s used to dealing with famous people. Millionaires, celebrities – local celebrities, in particular. So they’ve dealt with this type of thing before. We find out that the chief of police has sent an email to everyone in the department saying that nobody speaks about Patrick Kane – or else. So information was tough to find. Finally I was able to get some confirmation that Patrick Kane was being investigated for rape for an incident that allegedly occurred over the weekend. From there, things turned into a mushroom cloud.”
The woman who accused Kane went to a hospital and had a rape kit administered.
“That’s obviously an eyebrow-raising piece of information – that this just isn’t some trivial allegation that’s being made,” Graham said. “The other thing that is somewhat significant is that the Erie County district attorney has assigned a prosecutor to this case – which is not unusual – but the prosecutor that they assigned to it is Roseanne Johnson and she is the chief of the special victims unit. So this is not they’re just poking around here; this is the top of this type of crime and so they’re taking it seriously. I don’t think that Roseanne Johnson gives a damn how good Patrick Kane is on the power play. This is not the type of situation – it doesn’t look like as it’s unfolding – in which a lot of people get cynical about a famous athlete or somebody with money just being able to walk away from it. That’s not to say that charges will be brought just because a prosecutor’s involved, but this is a very serious matter and it could take a long time before the district attorney’s office goes through the forensic evidence and determines what to do.”
Kane, 26, is a Buffalo native and has a home in Hamburg. While locals don’t want to believe the allegations are true, Graham suggested many people won’t be surprised if they are.
“There’s been a long line of sports stars who have come from Buffalo, going all the way back to Warren Spahn and Bob Lanier and Jimmy Collins, the greatest third baseman until Brooks Robinson came along,” Graham said. “But Patrick Kane may be in that conversation as the greatest of all time to ever come out of Western New York, so there is this hero element to who he is. He wins Stanley Cups, and he’s the face of the NHL in many regards. He’s on covers of video games. But he’s also known for loving life. He enjoys being Patrick Kane. All you have to do is go to Deadspin and put Patrick Kane in the search engine and you’ll find all sorts of situations that Patrick Kane has put himself in, seemingly not caring that he’s just out there having fun with no consequences.
“He’s a hero in Buffalo for what he does on the ice, but away from the rink, I think there’s a large segment of the Western New York fan base that has gotten weary of this guy’s act,” Graham continued. “When something like this happens, it’s not that everybody’s aghast and can’t believe it (and says), ‘We need to rally around our hometown hero.’ I think that there a lot of people in Buffalo that look at it and shrug and say, ‘Well, that’s just one more thing that Patrick Kane has done that makes us embarrassed.’”