The following is a letter I also mailed to the Blackhawks head office. I’m sick and tired of the league’s non reaction to violence against women and I had to do something at least. I plan to tweak it and also mail a more generalized version to the NHL’s head office. Maybe this will do nothing, but maybe it will start something.
Dear Mr. McDonough,
I am writing to you after the Blackhawks announced Patrick Kane would be attending training camp. As a female fan of your league, I find your team’s decision in this matter to be greatly disappointing and upsetting.
The NHL’s female fans are increasing in numbers. Last count we were approximately 37% of the population. As you are probably aware, your team has an even higher percentage than the league average. In fact, you were quoted in a Bloomberg article from October 2014 saying “Female fans are a “very, very important demographic to us,” If this statement was not an empty sound bite, I urge you to reconsider your decision and suspend Patrick Kane until his investigation is resolved.
1 in 4 North American women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Statistically, several of your fans are survivors of sexual violence. I imagine it was heartbreaking for these women to hear the Blackhawks would not be disciplining Patrick Kane in any fashion.
I realize that I cannot judge Patrick Kane’s guilt or innocence myself, however, considering the grand jury is moving ahead, I believe there are certainly serious questions to be answered.
Regardless, the NHL has a clause in their CBA that allows teams to take action if a player is harming the reputation of the league.
If this information on your female fans is not enough to change your mind, consider the young male Blackhawks fans in Chicago and around the world. The Blackhawks players are marketed to them as heroes and role models. If one of these players is being publicly investigated for rape and is being completely supported instead of punished, what kind of message does this send? By not suspending Patrick Kane, your team is saying winning hockey games matters more than the health and safety of other human beings.
The Chicago Blackhawks are the most visible team in the NHL. By suspending Patrick Kane, you have an opportunity to start to change how professional sports treats violence against women. And that would be an amazing legacy to go along with two recent Stanley Cups. Thank you for your time in reading this.