Chicago Blackhawks fans have their thoughts on Kane
To support Patrick Kane. Or not to.
That has been the nagging question Blackhawks fans have wrestled with since news broke that the team's superstar has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman at his New York home, though he has not been charged with a crime.
With the team's Training Camp Festival being held at a mostly filled United Center on Monday, we thought this was the perfect time to ask fans three questions on a topic with no shortage of strong opinions.
1. Should Kane have come to training camp?
An overwhelming 88 percent of the 17 fans asked said yes, including every single woman.
Most people said Kane, who isn't charged with a crime at this point, should be treated just as you or I would be treated: innocent until proven guilty.
"He has not been charged with anything -- he should participate until further things come to light," said Kathy Drews from Palatine.
If indicted, though, most fans said Kane should be suspended until the case is resolved.
Michele vonEbers, a publishing Rights and Permissions Manager, echoed many people's thoughts that Kane certainly has put the organization in a tough spot.
"Not inviting him to camp may have been just as risky," von Ebers said. "Charges may never be brought against him, so bringing him in is very important to form team chemistry. And, from a public-relations standpoint, the organization could be viewed as having already formed an opinion to his guilt by not inviting him."
2. When news of the alleged assault was announced, did it dampen the spirit of the Cup win for you over the rest of the summer?
This wasn't as unanimous as the previous question, with 30 percent of respondents (44 percent of women) saying yes or "a little bit."
Jennifer Anderson, of Chicago, felt it did ruin the summer a bit, "especially at the beginning." Now that more than six weeks have passed, though, and no charges have been filed, Anderson is having more faith that things will work out in Kane's favor.
Either way, she hopes he learns from the whole experience.
"It's a little disappointing because I love Patrick Kane and I think he's such a great player," Anderson said, "but I think he needs to get his personal life in check. He needs to grow up a little bit.
"Whether he did anything wrong or not, I hope he learned a lesson from all of this."
For Greg and Michael Poulsen, both from Naperville, the news didn't affect their feelings about the Hawks winning the Stanley Cup for the third time in six seasons.
"It's just one player who got himself in a bad situation," Greg said. "Unfortunately it was one of the best players."
Said Michael: "It (the allegation) was well after the celebrations. You're more thinking about next year than thinking about last year."
3. Do you believe fans should be cheering Kane when he's on the ice?
This brought the widest range of responses, with an equal number of men saying yes and no, and 78 percent of the women saying yes.
"(Cheering for him) does his spirits good and shows we support him through tough times," said Brandon Duncan from Joliet.
"That's a gray area for me," said Eric Knapp, of Northwest Indiana. "Me, I'm not cheering. … I don't want to say I totally support him because he's had so many chances."
A few people said they wouldn't cheer for Kane as he went on the ice for warmups or during introductions but would if he scored.
"If he scores a goal, how can you not cheer?" said one fan who didn't want to be identified.
One of the few women who can't bring herself to cheer for Kane is vonEbers, a huge Hawks fans who admitted that "as a fan, a woman and a lawyer, it's difficult to have just one opinion."
"I firmly embrace 'innocent until proven guilty,' but I can't publicly and affirmatively join in such an outpouring of support until there is complete exoneration of wrongdoing, which there may never be," vonEbers said.
"My allegiance runs to the team and I trust that the organization will make wise decisions. Tonight, I will be cheering wildly for my Hawks, my team."