The Rush to Judgement


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.

  • lj

    This one time coming back from a fine drinking establishment with a couple buddies, our cabbie locked the doors on us. When we got to our apartment two of us unlocked our doors and stepped out so our other buddy was forced to pay. The cabbie thought we were stiffing him, reached back and grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and drove off with one hand and the doors still open. Funniest thing I ever saw. Turns out he drove like that all the way to a police station. Good times.

  • lj

    I don't care if Kane is innocent or guilty. I'm gonna heckle him without mercy November 21st! I'm gonna have a sign asking for twenty cent donations to the Candy Kane defence fund. I'm gonna wear broken glasses and a neck brace: I'll even put powder in my hair… When you are a public figure, even the APPEARANCE of impropriety lends ammunition to your detractors. I'm gonna have a FIELD DAY…and so will hundreds of other fans in areana's all over the league. It may be wise to drop Kane out of your top twenty this coming hockey pool: even the most stone hearted of men can get worn down by the oncomming shenanigans over an 82 game schedule.

  • lj

    While Jon is correct to point out that the public has yet to hear anything close to the unvarnished truth, I thinks some of the mud thrown in the last couple days is somewhat deserved. Patrick Kane is probably not the drunken mugger he's been painted, but he is s-t-u-p-i-d with a capital S. Every young star in professional sports or show business should take classes on PR the second they see their name in print more than once a week. If Kane had been educated/thinking at all, he would have realized the potential ugliness of this situation and avoided it before it ever became news. But naivety and probably some booze and wanting to show off for cousin Cledus led to this firestorm that he's certainly regretting today.

    Do you think for a second that Glen Sather or Doug Weight or Dr. Phil haven't wanted to throttle some stupid public loser over a misunderstanding or petty insult? Sure they have. But they're smarter than that and realize that they can't afford to lose it on the person. I think Kane understands that now, albeit he sure had to figure it out the hard way.

  • lj

    While I'm normally one to preach caution in lieu of the facts, in this particular instance, I'm not sure how the facts are going to make this look any better. Unless the 60+ year old cab driver was the one that started the swinging (which really seems unlikely), what exactly would make beating up a sixty year old man acceptable?

    What facts could we POSSIBLY be made aware of that would make us say "ohhhh, yeah, I guess that old bastard had it coming…"?

    Perhaps I'm a little old fashioned, but I've always been of the mind that outside of the good ol' fashion Hockey game, it's just not okay to start hitting someone. Ever. (barring a few extreme circumstances, of course… oh, and getting locked in a cab while you fight over a fare is not an "extreme circumstance"). This is doubly so when that someone is a senior citizen.

    Sorry JW, I couldn't disagree more here…. I hope the media continues to lambast the little punk. I hope nick names like "20-cent" and the like become common place. Because I really don't care what the facts are, there's none that'll make me feel that Kane was justified in whomping on a 60+ year old dude.

  • lj

    Did you see the photo of the cabbie? Do you think the black eye is makeup. Whether Kane or his cousin hit him, the fact is Kane was there when the situation escalated to the point of violence, and the fare was $13.80. They took their original $15 dollars back. Explain to me what instance makes this right.

    Kane will pay the guy off so this goes away, but that doesn't make it right. Cabbies are getting beat on all over the damn place, and to just shrug and say "we need all the facts" is a sad state on how you look at things.

    What could have happened to cause them to punch a 62 year-old man? There wasn't a girlfriend around that he could have flirted with or made a harsh remark about.

    So he locked the doors of the cab. It happens lots, and makes sense since many people like to run rather than pay. Is that cause to get beat up? I sure would hope not.

  • lj

    imagine if he would have paid and just left the cab? there wouldnt be a situation at all. its kind of funny how just "playing along" in society can keep you out of trouble. or did the bruises on the cabbies face just appear from Fight Club type "self-punishment"? maybe the cabbie really wanted to test his luck against two guys and locked them in for an extra couple bucks. pfff haha

    maybe people are jumping the gun but Kane didnt do himself any favors to expect people not to jump it.

    we all know the "non-facts" right now, but thinking people arent going to develop a bias based on the story so far is hilarious. bringing in objective "caution" is fine, but dont expect it to win out until more "facts" come out.

  • lj

    LT posted that he keeps hearing the Heater deal isn’t dead. I’m glad Patty Kane made him self available to absorb 90% of our douche comments. ~Because I’m sure Heatley enjoys reading ON so he doesn’t get to full of himself~

  • lj

    onehitwonder wrote:

    The PR department has done a nice job so far of sidestepping the underage drinking issue. Overreaction = D-Runk

    Given Jon's comparison to the earlier article indicating Kane was a generous tipper during the day whilst (presumably) sober – it wouldn't be a stretch to say this is the root of the problem.

    Not sure about the rest of you's – but when I'm inebriated I have a hard time with both math and rationale…just sayin'…

    Still, a douchey thing to do – but I'll give the kid the benefit of the doubt til all the facts are out.

  • lj

    Clarkenstein wrote:

    Did you, by chance, see the face of the 70 year old cabbie?? Or did you think he got that messed up shaving that morning?? When two punks beat up an old man then the “court of public opinion” has every right to express their opinions on pages like this

    And did you by chance hear what Kane had to say about the incident? How do you know that the Cabbie wasn't being a crazy driving jerk and them locked them in the car? Un-likely but possible. What if Kane had come out to the media and said that before he was ever accused of wrong doing. Would you believe him? If you have one side of the story and you've made up your mind then yes you are ignorant.

  • lj

    JW, that was damn near Bob McKenzie-esque in it's calm rationale and reasoned thought process. You've been kicking ass for a long time over a range of different topics and I think it's finally time to plunge into your comment threads to tip my hat and say thanks for all your hard work. Great job sir!

  • lj

    Most Likely Outcome:

    Patrick Kane pays a lot of money to keep Radecki's mouth shut from here on out, and the charges get dropped.

    At least, that's where I'd put my money if this were a betting pool.

  • lj

    onehitwonder wrote:

    The PR department has done a nice job so far of sidestepping the underage drinking issue. Overreaction = D-Runk

    Nice point; that hadn't occurred to me. I should know that it's 21 in the States; I took a road trip to New York a few years back and was a little surprised to discover I couldn't order a beer.

  • lj

    @ Travis Dakin:
    Well then call me "ignorant"!! Did you, by chance, see the face of the 70 year old cabbie?? Or did you think he got that messed up shaving that morning?? When two punks beat up an old man then the "court of public opinion" has every right to express their opinions on pages like this. However, as we all know it only matters what the judge thinks. Just for a change tho' it would be nice to see some appropriate punishment given…IF…. they are found guilty of the alleged crime.

  • lj

    JRyanMac wrote:

    Baron Wanye Von Gretz IV is stiill correct though, cabbie beater or not. What a douche. Just for the way he always has that stupid mouth guard hanging out of mouth. Douche all the way.

    HAHA jelous of the 20 year old hockey super star are we? Douche he is indeed.

  • lj

    Baron Wanye Von Gretz IV is stiill correct though, cabbie beater or not. What a douche. Just for the way he always has that stupid mouth guard hanging out of mouth. Douche all the way.

  • lj

    Hmmm, the lawyer says its been blown out of proportion eh. Wonder how big a cheque Kane wrote to make this mess go away. As Ted Dibiase always said, everybody's got a price. HAHAHAHAHA!

  • lj

    Thank you for finally putting some reality into the situation Jonathan. People have really been pissing me off the last couple of days with their rush to judgment and assumption about this issue. It shhows just how ignorant we can be. How can anybody with any tinge of intelligence make a solid judgement after only hearing one side of a story? It's quite a sad picture painted for our society if you ask me. Haven't these people ever been involved in an incident, legal or not, that was blown out of proportion by one side and therefore had people wrongly condemn them? Glass houses.

  • lj

    This situation does not sound good, however I heard some comments from the cabbie and his lawyer and this will be settled out of court with a minor non criminal charge being the most likely. Also heard the cab driver locked the two Kanes in the back seat and would not let them out of the cab as he thought they were college students and this seems to be the standard practice untell they get payment. Media did show the cab driver and he was a bit scratched up but not like he was mugged or anything like that. I see money changing hands and end of story.