Reminder: this is a sensitive topic, so let's keep the comments to pledges.
Let's admit it: Patrick Kane is (at the very least) starting the season on the Blackhawks' roster, despite a section of the current CBA that allows both the team and the NHL to suspend him. The league and the Los Angeles Kings used this to suspend Slava Voynov pending investigation for domestic violence. The only caveat is that it is unclear if an arrest is necessary or if the investigation/grand jury proceeding itself is enough:
18-A.5 Criminal Investigation. A Player subject to Commissioner Discipline for Off-Ice Conduct may seek a reasonable delay in such proceedings in order to retain and seek the advice of counsel in the event his conduct may also be subject to a criminal investigation by any governmental authority, or in the event of an ongoing civil proceeding where the Player has been named as a defendant. The League may suspend the Player pending the League's formal review and disposition of the matter where the failure to suspend the Player during this period would create a substantial risk of material harm to the legitimate interests and/or reputation of the League.
The Blackhawks could decide to suspend Kane on their own. From The Sporting News' Cari Grieb:
In contrast to league's response, the Blackhawks could suspend or terminate Kane, even without an indictment or arrest. The Blackhawks could invoke a morals clause found in Article 2(e) of Kane’s Standard Player's Contract that states a player agrees "to conduct on and off the rink according to the highest standards of honesty, morality, fair play, and sportsmanship, and to refrain from conduct detrimental to the best interest of the Club, the League or professional hockey generally." Absent any criminal charges, however, the Blackhawks can expect the Players' Association to file a grievance on Kane’s behalf to overturn any premature suspension or contract termination.
Unfortunately, the NHL and the Blackhawks have assumed that it is better that one of their star players be trotted out in front of reporters to "appreciate their questions," be defended by teammates who should just say "no comment" in radio interviews, and to be given chills by the fan response on the first day of camp.
All of this is frustrating at the least for many NHL fans, especially those of us who feel that domestic violence, sexual assault, and rape are all serious issues that should be handled with the utmost consideration of the victims in mind. Many hockey fans don't want to see Patrick Kane on the ice at all this season; the reality of the system seems to be that unless he is formally charged with rape, he will be.
We've decided, thanks to an idea from our resident grumpy Englishman, Grant, to make the best out of a terrible decision. Grant and I have each pledged $1 for each point that Kane scores this season to Harbor House, a Chicago-area women's shelter that does wonderful work helping women and families who are victims of abuse. We would love it if you would pledge the same, or whatever you can. If you would prefer to pledge a flat donation to the organization, that would also be wonderful.
We will be doing a post at the end of Kane's season reminding those who pledged and posting donation information.