from Danny Ecker of Crain's Chicago Business,
Patrick Kane has, by necessity, gotten pretty good at repairing his public image.
Gone are the headlines about the 28-year-old's off-the-ice conduct, replaced by thrilling goal highlights and commercial appearances, including recent ones for Chevrolet and hockey equipment brand Bauer. The turnaround comes just one year since a district attorney in upstate New York said he would not pursue criminal charges after investigating a Buffalo woman's allegation that she was sexually assaulted by Kane.
It's a familiar script for the Chicago Blackhawks star forward, who has had to rehabilitate a damaged reputation for the third time in his 10-year professional career. While last year's investigation was by far the most serious of his setbacks, it added to a track record that includes disorderly conduct for punching a cabdriver in 2009 and public displays of drunkenness that pervaded the internet.
While sexual assault accusations rarely stick to superstar athletes in courts of law, they can stick in the court of public opinion. In this case, Kane ran the image recovery play perfectly. He abandoned social media for eight months after the allegations surfaced in Buffalo, generally avoided media attention and was absent from ads. And he topped it off by turning in the best season of his career, winning the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player.