The Rush to Judgement

Jonathan Willis
August 11 2009 06:30AM

 

The hockey world is roundly condemning Patrick Kane after reports that he and his cousin had been charged with assaulting a cab driver and depriving him of his fare. Some of that condemnation has occurred on this website.

Jason Gregor:

Patrick Kane you are a cheap ass idiot! …. I’m sorry there is no defence for what he and his chicken-ass cousin James allegedly did to a Buffalo cab driver this past weekend. The Kanes have been charged with felony robbery and misdemeanour counts of theft and criminal mischief. All of this allegedly stemmed from the cabbie not having 20 cents in change. 20 cents? Really that’s what these two tight-asses were upset about? The original fare was $13.80 and the cabbie supposedly only had a dollar in change. Being that much of a tight-ass is just as embarrassing as allegedly beating up a 62-year-old cab driver.

Baron Wanye Von Gretz IV:

If there is any truth to this business involving Patrick Kane over the weekend then he seriously needs to be beaten within an inch of his life by someone who has the ability to get through to him…. Beating up a cabbie? What a douche.

Of course, it isn’t really surprising. The hockey world is almost bereft of news by August (trust me on that) and this is a big story, involving a recognized star (EA Sports’ cover boy this year) doing something that (if true) is obviously way out of line. There are literally hundreds of articles out there as NHL writers across the continent took advantage of Kane’s foolishness and wrote their first easy column in weeks.

Still, let’s back up a second. The publicly available facts are limited; largely based on an initial police report seen by a Buffalo sportswriter, and on public comments from the cap driver, Jan Radecki.

Don’t get me wrong – if the initial reports are correct, Kane deserves most of the flack he’s getting, and most of the people criticizing him realize it (Wanye prefaces his comments with “if there’s any truth” and Jason Gregor uses the word “allegedly” three times in two paragraphs) but that isn’t what will be remembered. Kane has already been judged and found guilty by public opinion.

There are some things worth remembering here – the first of which is that Kane probably didn’t do it because he’s just that cheap. From today’s Chicago Tribune (g/t Second City Hockey):

During Kane's rookie season in 2007, the then 18-year-old was with his Hawks teammates in Detroit for a game against the Red Wings. I was staying in the same hotel as the team and a few hours before game time jumped into a cab and asked the driver to take me to Joe Louis Arena. After hearing my destination, the driver told me he'd just had a Hawks player in the cab and mentioned what a great guy the player was and that he had given the driver $50 for a $10 cab ride. He then showed me the autograph the player had given him and it read: "Show me the money! (signed) Patrick Kane" Irony aside, this certainly doesn't absolve Kane of any wrong-doing in Sunday's incident, but in my mind should help put to rest the notion that the altercation was because Kane, who as a rookie wasn't yet making millions of dollars but still gave the driver in Detroit a $40 tip, was too cheap to pay Radecki or tip him or that Kane disrespects working men and women such as cab drivers.

Another item worth noting is the public statements made by Radecki’s attorney, Andrew LoTempio (a rather prominent Buffalo-area lawyer and former judge):

"It's pretty much been blown out of proportion. It's a dispute over the cab fee and unfortunately Mr. Radecki didn't recognize Mr. Kane and just thought they were a couple of college kids. "Some of the cab drivers here have a policy of not unlocking the doors until they get paid because they get beat on their fees by the college kids and that just kind of blew up." … LoTempio added that he believed the charges would "absolutely not" rise to the level of a felony, calling it a "regular kid incident." The lawyer also said, "I think we should be able to work things out" with Kane.

None of this absolves Kane, but the issue is probably more about Kane and his cousin getting locked in the cab than it is about the twenty cents in change they were supposedly refused. Radecki’s initial comments seem damning, but then again if I’d been wronged (and it seems pretty clear he was) by someone like Kane I know that I’d have to fight the impulse to exaggerate the incident; perhaps Radecki had a similar impulse.

Naturally, we’ll likely never know – if for no other reason than LoTempio’s comments seem aimed at quieting the story. I can only guess at the reason, but it seems pretty clear-cut: a nice out-of-court settlement for his client.

Lastly, it isn’t like Kane has pled guilty. Kane really hasn’t said anything yet, but his attorney entered a not-guilty plea and made the following statement:

"Obviously he's upset that he would be accused of something like this," Cambria said. "He hasn't committed a crime, and I think the evidence is going to demonstrate that."

Patrick Kane will pay for his mistake – whatever the true extent of it - and his reputation likely won’t recover. Probably it’s deserved. But as far as I’m concerned, the critics making absolute statements without anything more than a superficial knowledge of the facts - which is all any of us have at this point - are moving too quickly.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
Avatar
#151 Mark
August 11 2009, 06:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Gregor,

It looks like Horcoff is in mid season form...He couldn't even complete a call to get on your show...did he fan on dialing???

Avatar
#152 Travis Dakin
August 11 2009, 06:07PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Mark wrote:

It looks like Horcoff is in mid season form…He couldn’t even complete a call to get on your show…did he fan on dialing???

ZIIIIIINGGGGG!

Avatar
#153 kingsblade
August 11 2009, 06:11PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Travis Dakin wrote:

kingsblade wrote: What exactly is the lawyer’s motivation in your mind then? What possible reason does he have for playing it down? He has none without a possible settlement. Not making himself and his client look like a fool against a real high powered lawyer who will rip the case apart? I don’t know. I see your perspective though.

If he wanted to avoid that he would have just done as you said and advised the driver to let it go. Then he would have never spoken about it in public and certainly would not have been embarrassed about anything.

The only other thing I can think of is if the driver consulted him about any possible criminal ramifications facing the driver over the incident. This might make some sense because, unless I'm wrong, I think he is a criminal lawyer. However I'm not sure if this were the case he'd want to be commenting on Kane's charges.

Avatar
#154 Travis Dakin
August 11 2009, 06:14PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ kingsblade: Well then, it certainly sounds like something is fishy one way or another. This is one of the times where it is not good to be a high profile public figure.

Avatar
#155 kingsblade
August 11 2009, 06:14PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Gunner wrote:

@ Travis Dakin: @ kingsblade: Did you guys listen to Gregors show when the lawyer was on? From the sounds of it, the police were not overly sold on what the cab driver told them. So much so that they didn’t even sign the document in relation to pressing charges (cannot remember what the lawyer called it), the cab driver did. This is going nowhere. Next..

I didn't catch it either, I don't live in Edmonton. Pretty funny though. Good thing we didn't wait for facts huh?

Avatar
#156 kingsblade
August 11 2009, 06:17PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Travis Dakin wrote:

@ kingsblade: Well then, it certainly sounds like something is fishy one way or another. This is one of the times where it is not good to be a high profile public figure.

NO kidding. Was it here that somebody mentioned the fact that Gretzky wouldn't get on an elevator alone with a woman just in case?

This is why I wouldn't want to be that famous. That rich maybe, but never that famous.

Avatar
#157 Librarian Mike
August 11 2009, 06:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

kingsblade wrote:

Was it here that somebody mentioned the fact that Gretzky wouldn’t get on an elevator alone with a woman just in case?

Just in case what; she beat him up? Haha.

Seriously though, I agree that it would be tough to be famous in that you would have pretty much zero privacy.

Avatar
#158 Travis Dakin
August 11 2009, 06:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

kingsblade wrote:

NO kidding. Was it here that somebody mentioned the fact that Gretzky wouldn’t get on an elevator alone with a woman just in case? This is why I wouldn’t want to be that famous. That rich maybe, but never that famous.

Yes it was here. Think back at all of the things any one of us has done that basically flew under the radar of the public eye but would have been blown all to hell if we were a big deal. HA

Avatar
#159 The Towel Boy
August 11 2009, 06:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Mark wrote:

Gregor, It looks like Horcoff is in mid season form…He couldn’t even complete a call to get on your show…did he fan on dialing???

GOLD!

Avatar
#160 common sense
August 11 2009, 07:19PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Me thinks the Gregor is trying to sensationalize the Kane debacle for more radio ratings. He's tweeted that he's gonna have some US lawyers on his show. Hey Gregor, you sold your journalism soul to the devil over the Heatley fiasco and now your selling out completely to the almighty dollar-ratings....Just say no Gregor. I hear your fellow Nait alumni wailing....

Avatar
#161 Dave
August 11 2009, 07:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Jason Gregor: I caught the end of the lawyer before Myrtle and he seemed to infer that unlawful confinement is a reasonable defence for the Kanes actions no? Do I think a cabbie deserves a beat down for locking their fares in? Probably not. The cab driver is not completely innocent here.

Avatar
#162 Travis Dakin
August 11 2009, 07:39PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

and another good opinion piece from THN....

hxxp://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/27494-THNcom-Blog-Kane-charge-gets-overblown-from-all-angles.html

Avatar
#163 douggy
August 11 2009, 08:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

common sense wrote:

Me thinks the Gregor is trying to sensationalize the Kane debacle for more radio ratings. He’s tweeted that he’s gonna have some US lawyers on his show. Hey Gregor, you sold your journalism soul to the devil over the Heatley fiasco and now your selling out completely to the almighty dollar-ratings….Just say no Gregor. I hear your fellow Nait alumni wailing….

you're an idiot! are you a journalist? gregor gets the facts, reports them accordingly, and keeps sports fans in the loop. I say gregor for mayor! common sense? "me thinks not!" you MORON!

Avatar
#164 Jason Gregor
August 11 2009, 09:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Mark,

Horcoff called me after. He was on a flight to Detroit..It got delayed so he landed after the show. He will be on tomorrow. Good line though..ha

Avatar
#165 Jason Gregor
August 11 2009, 09:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

common sense wrote:

Me thinks the Gregor is trying to sensationalize the Kane debacle for more radio ratings. He’s tweeted that he’s gonna have some US lawyers on his show. Hey Gregor, you sold your journalism soul to the devil over the Heatley fiasco and now your selling out completely to the almighty dollar-ratings….Just say no Gregor. I hear your fellow Nait alumni wailing….

Asking a lawyer, who knows way more about than me about the legal ramifications isn't sensationalism, it's called getting the facts.

Avatar
#166 Homie
August 11 2009, 10:00PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

kris wrote:

Jonathon: Imagine a nightmare scenario: You walk home. You find a man standing there holding a bloody knife. You see him continually stabbing your 62 year old mother. Do you say, Let’s not jump to conclusions and rush to judgment about this? The man deserves his day in court. I can’t imagine any possible justification for this behavior, but there may be some justification I can’t imagine. I mean, there are some far out, almost unimaginable explanations, where the man doing the stabbing isn’t guilty of doing anything wrong. (Maybe your mother tried to kill him. Maybe she had turned into a zombie.) There are also alot of things you could discover that wouldn’t justify the violence, e.g. she had locked the killer in the house and he was very claustrophobic, etc. It’s a more extreme case of violence, but exactly analagous.

Worst...comment...ever

Avatar
#167 Jonathan Willis
August 11 2009, 11:51PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Homie wrote:

Worst…comment…ever

Seconded. That's just wrong on so many different levels.

Avatar
#168 Jonathan Willis
August 12 2009, 12:06AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Oh, and by the way:

hxxp://abcnews.go.com/US/LegalCenter/story?id=3028515&page=1

Avatar
#169 Travis Dakin
August 12 2009, 08:04AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Homie wrote:

Worst…comment…ever

HAHAHA oh my god that was actually a good comment. It made me laugh and that is all that matters.

Avatar
#170 Kingsblade
August 12 2009, 09:22AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Jason Gregor wrote:

common sense wrote: Me thinks the Gregor is trying to sensationalize the Kane debacle for more radio ratings. He’s tweeted that he’s gonna have some US lawyers on his show. Hey Gregor, you sold your journalism soul to the devil over the Heatley fiasco and now your selling out completely to the almighty dollar-ratings….Just say no Gregor. I hear your fellow Nait alumni wailing…. Asking a lawyer, who knows way more about than me about the legal ramifications isn’t sensationalism, it’s called getting the facts.

I'm not sure "common sense" even deserved a response.

Avatar
#171 Kingsblade
August 12 2009, 09:32AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Jonathan Willis wrote:

Oh, and by the way: hxxp://abcnews.go.com/US/LegalCenter/story?id=3028515&page=1

but...but ...but...

Chaz wrote:

No DA would ever charge someone, let alone someone with money and influence, unless they knew something criminal occurred.

I'm sorry to have to be the one to tell you this JW, but that story must be a terrible lie.

Either that or Chaz watches too much TV.

Avatar
#172 kris
August 12 2009, 10:49AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Sorry guys. It was supposed to be sort of ironically over the top, violent imagery: think South Park kind of humor, (I don't actually think Willis' mother is a zombie.)

Didn't mean to offend.

I still don't see any justification for puching a 62 year old man, or letting your friend do it. None.

The cabbie may have no license and DUI's, he may be worse than that. He may have locked the Kanes in to pressure them into paying an extra few bucks. All of this may clear Kane of the actual charge of theft or assault or whatever, but it doesn't excuse a star athlete of punching an old man in the face, or even standing by while his cousin did.

There's no rushing to judgment, none at all, in saying Kane clearly acted reprehensibly here given the facts.

Kane deserves the flack. If he apologizes and makes restitution we can all move on.

Avatar
#173 Travis Dakin
August 12 2009, 11:49AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

kris wrote:

All of this may clear Kane of the actual charge of theft or assault or whatever, but it doesn’t excuse a star athlete of punching an old man in the face, or even standing by while his cousin did. There’s no rushing to judgment, none at all, in saying Kane clearly acted reprehensibly here given the facts.

How do you know he did pucnh him in the face or just stood by? Were you there? No you heard a guy tell his side of the story. You haven't heard the witnesses that there apparently are and you haven't heard Kanes side. You therfore ARE rushing to judgement.

Comments are closed for this article.