At the moment, Kane not guilty of anything

In the time since the story of Patrick Kane's(notes) arrest broke, he's been convicted over a thousand times. When the cab driver, Jan Radecki, who was allegedly assaulted and robbed, told his side of the story to a local news station, Kane was convicted another thousand times. When the mug shot of the Chicago Blackhawks young star was released on Sunday, he was convicted even more.

What do we really have to base opinions off of in this case? We only have the events from Radecki's side that he told Buffalo news station WIVB in this video. We don't have the story through Patrick or his cousin's eyes. We also have Kane's lawyer, Paul Cambria, saying that this issue is overblown and his agent, Pat Brisson, confident that the Blackhawks forward will be exonerated. Oh, and the cab driver's lawyer agrees with things being exaggerated. Is this just setting up for an out-of-court settlement or are the "jump to conclusions" mats out in full-force?

As Cambria pointed out, nothing in the police report indicated that Kane was intoxicated. Grabbing a cab at 5 a.m. in an area of Buffalo that is full of bars would lead one to believe that alcohol had to be involved, but wouldn't that have come out already? Wouldn't Radecki have, in his statement or television interview, noted that the two kids he's accusing of assaulting and robbing him were drunk?

The trial for Patrick Kane has apparently already ended and he's seen guilty through the eyes of many that are basing their opinions on the story currently out there. A story I might add, that has still yet to be proven true and features only one side. Kane's image on the cover on the upcoming videogame NHL10 is already being questioned. Speculation is running rampant about his future in Chicago. Rumors about Kane's attitude and cockiness are beginning to creep into the mainstream. Where is the support for Chicago's young star?

If the athlete in question had past issues with the law (like Radecki apparently does), a shady background (according to Kane's lawyer), or was a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, I could at least understand the public's early urge to convict. While not right, I could see why they'd judge so soon. In this case, we have one of the National Hockey League's rising superstars, a kid who's just 20-years old and been nothing but an ambassador for the game in Chicago and his hometown of Buffalo in just two-years as a professional. Can we let the legal system play out before the kid is labeled for the rest of his career undeservedly?

It may turn out that Kane was indeed guilty of a crime and he'll be punished for his actions by the legal system and the NHL. It may also end up that the events are truly "blown out of proportion", as the lawyer's on both sides have stated. If he's innocent, will those in the media who've scolded a yet-to-be proven guilty 20-year old kid ask for forgiveness? Likely not.

The case against the Duke University lacrosse players wasn't that long ago and showed that initial allegations don't always end up being completely factual. As we stand, early in this story, Patrick Kane should be given a bit more benefit of the doubt in this case until it fully develops.