Sports’ problem with violence and sexism towards women rears its ugly head again


Every Monday morning, Section 215’s Akiem Bailum gives an in-depth and unfiltered look at all of the latest sports news in The Monday Morning Realist. You can follow Akiem on Twitter @AkiemBailum.

Jun 10, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) skates with the puck against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first period in game four of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, the story that received the attention of the sporting landscape was an important one—and one that many male sports fans seemed to be uncomfortable talking about but were finally forced to talk about.

We were talking about the problems with male athletes and domestic violence in the NFL, as exuded through the case of Ray Rice. He was observed on videotape at an Atlantic City casino beating his then-fiancé, Janay Palmer Rice, unconscious.

It was one of the most disturbing pieces of footage sports fans may have ever had to feast their eyes on, but it also showed the dark underbelly of an aspect of American culture where the majority of its popular pastimes are competed in by men and the majority of the businesses making up said popular pastimes are ran by men.

Here we are once again, only this time it is happening in the NHL as someone has leveled rape allegations against one of its biggest superstars.

Only a couple of months after his Chicago Blackhawks were successful in winning their third Stanley Cup in five years, and seemingly establishing themselves as a modern-day hockey dynasty, there is now a broader microscope under Patrick Kane.

A woman is alleging Kane recently was at a nightclub in downtown Buffalo sometime last weekend (Kane lives in the Buffalo area). The woman says she met Kane, who took her to his home and then raped her.

Said investigation is still fresh, but if it turns out that police can corroborate the story of the woman allegedly involved in Kane’s attack, the NHL will have just as big of a problem with this issue on their hands as did the NFL last year.

The only difference, of course, is this will be occurring during the NHL’s offseason. The NHL will also, again, be dealing with a case involving one of its highest of high-profile players.

Arguably the biggest star involved in any domestic violence transgressions last year was the Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, who was alleged of beating his child with a switch.

The NFL had to deal with a lot of its cases last year during the offseason, but those cases eventually bled into the regular season of play.

If the investigation into Patrick Kane is able to go deep enough to where it looks like there is solid evidence against him, it will ultimately bleed into the season—and will be a constant topic of discussions within NHL circles as the season wears on.

The Chicago Blackhawks are probably used to having a lot of media attention given the team has established itself as one of the premier franchises in professional sports in the 21st century. Being in the major media market that is Chicago also will bring the microphones, cameras, and newspaper reporters with recorders.

They probably would not be used to reporters curious moreso about any investigation into rape allegations than any play on the ice, but it may be something they would have to get used to. By not addressing said allegations if proven to be true, it will prove they are no better than the NFL in addressing the problem in 2014.

Unfortunately, the specter of male sports’ actions against women were not only expressed at the professional level, but at the collegiate level as well.

It is one thing for it to involve a student-athlete, but it is another thing entirely when it involves a university official.

Former University of Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague recently resigned amidst allegations that he sexually harassed two female employees.

But Teague’s problems only increased when a third woman came out and leveled her own allegations he sexually harassed her.

And this one came from a reporter for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Amelia Rayno wrote on the Star-Tribune’s website that in late 2013, she was talking with Teague in a bar—in which she brought a not-so-long-ago breakup between her and her boyfriend. Teague then started making sexual advances towards Rayno which made her uncomfortable.

What made her even more uncomfortable was the fact that Teague began sending lewd and sexually explicit texts to Rayno. She became so uncomfortable by the idea of Teague making such advances she thought she may have to leave her position as beat reporter for Minnesota Golden Gophers men’s basketball—or leave journalism altogether.

Teague’s story seems shocking, but Realists, if you saw the ESPN 30 for 30 “Let Them Wear Towels,” it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone that these sort of sexist acts toward woman reporters still exists.

Teague at least had the decency to resign. It remains to be seen if the allegations against Patrick Kane can be proven—and if the NHL will learn from the NFL’s missteps it had just a year ago.

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