Hockey star Patrick Kane should be benched until his name is cleared. That's the opinion of a women's group in response to Kane being allowed to participate in Chicago Blackhawks training camp, which opened Friday.
Kane, a South Buffalo native, is under investigation for an alleged sexual assault in his Hamburg home. A grand jury has not yet been convened and Kane has not been charged with a crime.
That Kane is being allowed to participate in training camp is disturbing to the women's group UltraViolet. Organizing Director Karin Roland says Kane should be sidelined until the investigation is complete. She says the team and the league are sending a bad message to their fans.
"We're urging the Blackhawks and the NHL to take a stand against rape and not allow Patrick Kane to participate in training camp until the investigation is resolved," Roland told WBFO. "We live in a country with an astounding rape epidemic and we simply can't afford to have the NHL sending the message to young fans that sometimes, rape is okay."
Kane addressed the investigation against him for the first time Thursday, saying he has "done nothing wrong" and is confident he will be absolved. It is not clear when an Erie County grand jury will take up Kane's case.
"People all over the country look up to players like Patrick Kane," added Roland. "By allowing him to participate, the league and the team are saying, we don't believe women when they come forward."
"Women are watching and women don't want the NHL and the Blackhawks to sweep a rape survivor under the rug for the sake of their bottom line."
Roland says while no formal protest is underway Friday, the group is considering its options.