How Not to Write About Evander Kane

So far, we know very little about allegations brought against the Sabres’ Evander Kane. All we know is that they were made, that there is an investigation underway, that he denies them, and that he’s still playing for the Sabres, for now.

As with the Patrick Kane case, it would be bad to jump to conclusions in either direction, and everyone involved in the case needs to keep quiet and let the process play out.

So far, there hasn’t been any Sunday Buffalo News story where a bar owner comments on the matter, so at least we’re ahead on that score. But there is one especially irresponsible local website that took everything several steps too far.

Here’s a primer on how not to write about a criminal investigation involving rape or sexual assault.

So, there’s that.

In 2015, it should go without saying that reducing a criminal investigation into a discussion of how “hot” Kane’s girlfriend is about as irrelevant and misogynistic as it gets. Men don’t commit sexual assault because they’re horny; it’s about control and domination rather than sexual desire. So, Kane’s attractiveness – and the attractiveness of his model girlfriend – neither proves nor disproves whether the accuser in this case is telling the truth.

*Sabres. Also, I didn’t see anywhere that he was accused specifically of rape, but of a “sex offense”. (A rape is a “sex offense”, but if that was the accusation, then that word would have been used in the reporting). Whose ears are “unbelieving”? Because law enforcements’ are the only ears that matter right now.

She is “jaw dropping”? (also, *it’s). I suppose that it’s easy to assume that law enforcement has questions about the credibility of the accuser and her allegations – I’d be willing to bet, however, that a woman would be disinclined to make a false accusation in the wake of the fiasco that was the Patrick Kane case. The Buffalo News reports that the witness is having, “memory issues”, which I suppose is everyone’s way of telegraphing that there are issues here. I’ll bet the folks over at rape crisis services are pleased as punch to see that the News’ reporting on this is already so one-sided and, at the sports desk, tsk-tsk concerned because we’re so “ultra-sensitive” to this sort of thing here, thanks to Patrick Kane.

We should be ultra-sensitive to any accusation of rape or sexual assault by anyone, anywhere.

You can’t “rape the willing” is false. Setting aside for a moment that we don’t even know whether the underlying allegations even involve “rape”, 74% of rapes involve force or the threat of force.

We know you can tell everything about a person and their character from what they post at Instagram. Basically here the author is explaining that Evander Kane is a very attractive man, and clearly women are such shallow creatures that it’s unthinkable that any one of them would reject the advances of a man as handsome as he. I’m not sure whom this author interviewed to learn that Kane is “straight laced” and has “strong personal character”, but media reports of his time in Winnipeg don’t exactly back up that thesis.

Truth is, though, Kane was never a good fit in Winnipeg, even in his first season there where he scored 30 goals… Every unpaid traffic ticket, every rumour about him skipping out on restaurant bills and having his girlfriend with him on the road, every time he posed for pictures with a wad of money attached to his ear, every time he shaved YMCMB into his scalp became a major cause célèbre in the league’s smallest market.

So, disciplined and straight-laced.

That’s some opening sentence. I suppose it’s almost de rigeur for someone irresponsible to bemoan the unfair treatment of such good-looking millionaire sports heroes with “hot” girlfriends. Suffice it to say that I have a hard time feeling sympathy for someone who can afford to pay Superlawyer Paul Cambria to defend him against allegations of sexual misconduct.

No one knows the first detail about what Evander Kane is accused of having done. No one knows who the accuser is or what happened. We don’t even know the extent of any alleged crime. But suffice it to say that there’s a right way and a wrong way to write about these types of cases. Focusing on the relative attractiveness of the accused and his significant other is the wrong way.

Rape is an act of violence. Treating it like tabloid fodder and posting a bunch of cheesecake Instagram pictures does a disservice to society in general.

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