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NHL Deems Rape Allegations Against Blackhawks' Patrick Kane 'Unfounded'

By Mae Rice in News on Mar 9, 2016 10:12PM

Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrating after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 15, 2015 in Chicago. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The NHL has finished its independent review of the rape allegations against the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane, and determined the allegations against him were “unfounded.”

The league’s investigation wrapped up with an in-person interview between Kane and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, according to a statement from the NHL republished by Deadpsin.

The investigation took into account that in November, the Erie County District Attorney announced that Kane would not face charges related to a rape he allegedly committed in his home in Hamburg, New York on Aug. 2.

District attorney Frank Sedita III cited "significant material inconsistencies" between Kane’s accuser’s account of the rape and those of other witnesses.

Sedita also noted that a rape kit DNA test did not turn up any trace of Kane’s DNA below his alleged victim’s waist (though the test would deliver the same results if an assailant had simply not ejaculated, or worn a condom).

As Deadspin’s Barry Petchesky points out, it’s reasonable for the NHL not to discipline Kane, but the language of the league’s statement is troubling. It’s more strongly phrased than even Sedita’s statement that “this so-called 'case' is rife with reasonable doubt.”

In the passage below, Petchesky pinpoints the problem:

[W]hat’s to be gained from saying anything beyond a boilerplate “we have determined no action will be taken?” After all, epistemologically, how the hell would the NHL even know what happened? Why should it pretend to be able to determine what happened? Sports leagues are not cops and they are not courts.

Yet the NHL will pretend to be both, especially on behalf of the star of a Stanley Cup-holding team that hangs out regularly with President Obama.