Pic courtesy of (@flyersgirl38)
tatometimes I hate bloggers.
SB Nation, your unfunny cousin who takes Facebook memes way too far, weighs in– specifically, a woman who writes for their Caps blog, Jaspers Rink:
The Blackhawks have played two road games so far this year, once in Brooklyn against the Islanders and again last night in Philadelphia. In both buildings, fans have taunted Patrick Kane with some version of a “no means no” chant. It’s a phrase which, in the context of social activism, shows support to the victims of sexual assault – but at a sporting event like this, where the tone is almost certainly one of mockery, it does the exact opposite.
Flyer and Islander fans who participated in these chants should be ashamed of themselves; their fellow fans who did not partake should be embarrassed to be associated with them. Jokingly referencing something like sexual assault is part of a larger issue in our society in which such events are not taken nearly seriously enough, a culture in which the voice of the victims and their allies and advocates carries little weight. These chants, and the issues behind them, are not funny or clever… and they’re definitely not okay.
Times have changed. This isn’t 1979 at Madison Square Garden, where New York Rangers fans lustfully chanted “Beat Your Wife, Potvin, Beat Your Wife!” in reference to the spousal abuse allegations made against New York Islanders star Denis Potvin during a particularly prickly divorce. Over 35 years later, we expect more from fan behavior as we expect more from player behavior.
When it comes to Kane, the allegations shouldn’t be off the table for rival fans. I just wish they’d do something with a little more meaning behind it than turning powerful phrases into singsong chirps.
Bring a sign to the game with a rape crisis hotline number next to Kane’s picture, for example. Do something that uses this moment as a way to create awareness and do something proactive, while still keeping the spotlight on the player in question. Do something that shows you’re not just propagating something somber into something meaningless.
Ugh. I just rolled my eyes back so far that I know what life is like as a frog.
First of all, this isn’t a Philly fans are evil thing (surprisingly). It’s a we-need-to-up-our-in-arena-discourse thing. Which is just absurd.
Without diving too deeply and getting all meta on the chants, it’s fairly obvious, to any normal person, that this is what happened last night: bad dude on the ice, bad dude plays for other team, crowd reminds dude that he’s bad, crowd reminds national TV audience that dude is bad, especially since dude is only four regular season games removed from being accused of rape. For all the heat the NFL takes, The Shield seems awfully uninterested in handing out their own punishment in the absence of a conviction that won’t come. So, Kane plays this season and has to face 41 road crowds eager to remind everyone that the best player on the ice could be a rapist. There’s no more to it than that. No deeper meaning. No place for heightened civil discourse amongst 20,000 hockey fans there to have fun and see a hockey game. This seems obvious to me. Deriding or calling out a bad dude for being a bad dude (allegedly– but, mind you, public opinion does not subscribe to the same standard as a court of law) is pretty much the fundamental element on which our society maintains some semblance of order. It’s completely ridiculous for the overly-PC, terminally offended hipster* hockey blogger crowd to try to turn a bunch of mostly good people riding a potentially bad dude into anything more than that, and it’s the sort of self-indulgent handwringing that has become all too common in online media. If you want to take it a step further, the melodic nature of arena chants certainly gives the issue a lot more attention than handing out rape hotline pamphlets, or holding up a sign with its number, a suggestion that is positively absurd and would lead to the same sort of reaction from the hockey crowd that likes to see itself write.
Were the chants in bad taste? No. Were they in good taste? Not really. They were in a weird grey area. But again, this might not be a problem if Kane didn’t put himself in a position to be accused of rape, or if his team and league didn’t try to, as Wyshynski wrote, “[sweep] it under the rug so vigorously that the broom’s caught fire.”
I’ve been doing this for five years now, and one of the things I’ve tried to fight off was the urge to become so disconnected with reality – with what normal people working normal jobs care and think about – that I started writing shit like this, that I started conflating natural human behavior – deride bad dude – with some greater societal problem of making light of alleged rape. No one is joking about rape. Fuck that. A group of decency-respecting humans were gathered in a place, and a guy they already didn’t like had just been accused of doing something heinous. Did he do it or not? We’re never going to know. Kane will become just the latest athlete to be accused of something terrible but get off with a hand-slap because he has high-priced lawyers to eviscerate the accuser in any way possible. But it doesn’t exactly require mental gymnastics, given Kane’s public persona as a perpetually drunken dickhead, to acknowledge that he might have done it. And since his team, league and legal team will be doing everything they can to get us to forget about it, and since somehow it’s OK that his hometown newspaper and crowd addressed the accusation of rape with this…
Kane wasn’t sure what to expect when he was introduced at the United Center.
“It seemed like the crowd was supportive,” he said. “You don’t know which way it’s going to go.”
The answer: Loud. Kane pumped his fist toward the sea of red seated around him while he skated onto the ice during pregame festivities.
He received a taste of that reception when he walked the red carpet on Madison Street during player introductions three hours before the puck dropped on the 2015-16 season.
Unlike some of his mates, Kane did not address the crowd but instead acknowledged it with a wave.
“Whether it’s hockey or different things, we’ve done a good job of kind of quieting that outside noise and focusing on what we have to,” Kane said.
On Wednesday, that was the noise inside the United Center.
… sports fans elsewhere will make sure he doesn’t hear the end of it until there’s some sort of finality in the matter, which will probably never come. So please, self-indulgent hockey bloggers, tell me more about how showering Kane with jeers is somehow worse than giving him a fucking standing ovation because he plays for the hometown team.
*I’d like to thank (@michaelkinky) for that term, which I will now use to reference the online hockey media and pretty much everyone associated with SB Nation’s lousy parent site.