Party boy Patrick Kane would be smart to tone down his public escapades
BY RICK MORRISSEY email@example.com May 12, 2012 8:42PM
Patrick Kane said the power play will be the focus of the Blackhawks' abbreviated training camp. | Getty Images
Updated: June 14, 2012 8:20AM
There’s a lot to like about Patrick Kane. In addition to having rare hockey skills, he can be funny, opinionated and as carefree as a puppy.
He’s 23, and he’s an NHL star. He should be having a good time.
But, dude, why are you making us watch your good time in progress?
Last week, photos of a partying Kane showed up on the Internet, causing a stir and adding to a legend the Blackhawks would prefer go away. It’s not just that trouble follows him. It’s that he sees trouble and motions for it to join him, if not pose with him.
In 2009, he was arrested after an altercation with a cabdriver over pocket change.
Five months later, photos of a shirtless Kane and two teammates sitting with women in a limousine went viral.
And in the most recent episode, people were having a field day with photos of him partying at the University of Wisconsin. The Sun-Times ran a few images of his sloppy march through Madison’s bars.
Go to Deadspin.com if you want to read anonymous “eyewitness’’ accounts of Kane’s drunken behavior in Madison. Whether any of those accounts are true doesn’t seem to matter to the website.
That’s where we are in this Internet-driven world, and that’s why Kane should know better. Everybody has a cellphone with a camera, and everyone has the ability to say anything on the net and not be held accountable for it.
Boys will be boys. That’s what I said after the limo incident. No big deal. But why does it seem as if Kane’s the only boy being a boy these days? Why don’t the recent photos show any of his teammates having a good time? If they’re falling-down drunk or passed out, where are the images?
Twenty-three-year-olds still have some wild oats to sow. I was 23 once and so were many of you. But we weren’t representing an NHL hockey team. We didn’t score the goal that won the Stanley Cup for the Hawks. Our lives weren’t very public.
Joe Namath used to be the epitome of cool. He was celebrated for his partying and womanizing. Broadway Joe, right? Now we have Madison Pat — Madison Street or Madison, Wis., take your pick. But just remember: Namath spent decades living up to his reputation, then was exposed eight years ago as a boozy mess when he told ESPN sideline reporter Suzy Kolber on the air, “I want to kiss you.’’
If you Googled “Patrick Kane’’ on Saturday, the first item that came up was “Patrick Kane’s drunken weekend.’’ That’s not something the image-conscious Blackhawks want when they’re trying to sell themselves to families. That’s not what you want 8-year-old Timmy seeing when he’s researching his favorite player for a school report.
Athletes are role models, whether they want to be or not. It comes with the money and the fame. Your every move is watched, analyzed and judged. Some of those moves are emulated, even the stumbling-drunk ones.
I don’t want to go all Puritan on Kane here. It can’t be overstated that he’s 23. But does his, um, enthusiasm have to be so public? Is it really necessary for him to dance on a bar top with a bottle in his hand (see YouTube)? Is taking off your shirt in a club a prerequisite to having a good time?
No one is saying he needs to turn into the Church Lady, but he doesn’t always have to be Mr. Party. Not every outing has to be a public spectacle.
In the past, the Hawks have let Kane know they’re not fans of some of his behavior. President John McDonough, a marketing man to the core, is extremely sensitive to matters of image.
“He’s a young kid, he’s a very social kid, but I think he’s very aware,’’ he told reporters last year. “He understands the importance of being a Chicago Blackhawk and what that means, but I continue to be very proud of him and thrilled he’s a Chicago Blackhawk.’’
The Hawks declined comment Saturday on the recent photos, and Kane’s agent couldn’t be reached for comment.
“I’m 21 years old, but it’s probably time to grow up a bit,’’ Kane said after the limo photos came out.
In Madison last week, he wore a yellow T-shirt with the limo photo printed on the back. It was as if he were mocking the Hawks and saying, “You know what? On second thought, I don’t want to grow up.’’
Fine. How about you do your not growing up in private?