Commentary Media

From Big Dan’s to Steubenville: A Generation Later, Media Coverage of Rape Still Awful

Tara Murtha

Striking parallels between a rape case from almost exactly thirty years ago and the Steubenville case make for a good opportunity to assess how reporting on rape has changed—or not.

This past Sunday, 16-year-old Ma’lik Richmond and 17-year-old Trent Mays were found delinquent (the equivalent of guilty in juvenile court) of raping a 16-year-old girl in front of their friends at a series of parties in Steubenville, Ohio. Mays was also found delinquent on charges of the illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material for texting a picture he took of the victim while she was naked.

Almost exactly 30 years earlier, in March 1983, a woman was gang raped by at least four men—six were originally charged—in Big Dan’s Tavern in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The victim in the Big Dan’s attack was Cheryl Araujo, a 21-year-old mother of two who lived down the street from the tavern. (The 1988 film The Accused is loosely based on the incident.)

There are striking parallels between the two cases. And, notably, they illustrate how little the media’s coverage of rape cases has changed over the decades.

Reporters covering the Big Dan’s case openly struggled with responsible reporting issues, such as whether or not to name the victim and how to give context to victim-blaming quotes from community members.

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Araujo was told in court that she had to “prove her innocence.” She was aggressively cross-examined and grilled about her drinking. “She was as much on trial as the defendants,” an advocate told the Associated Press.

In both the Big Dan’s and Steubenville cases, the public was shocked by the presence of bystanders who joined in, cheered, or did nothing to stop the attacks. That shock converged with anxiety over the role a new media format played in each case: As Columbia University journalism professor Helen Benedict noted in the landmark 1993 book, Virgin or Vamp: How the Press Covers Sex Crimes, the newfangled media in the Big Dan’s case was 24-hour cable news.

The Steubenville case, of course, was documented on and subsequently unfolded through social media: The assailants took photos of the victim looking unconscious. A friend shot, and later deleted, video of Mays assaulting the victim in a car. A blogger named Alexandra Goddard helped the case gain attention by chiseling away at it on her website. Loosely organized hacker group Anonymous posted a video of the attackers’ friend laughing hysterically about the assault, which galvanized outrage about the case. Crime scene investigators didn’t need the victim’s underwear, which went missing after the assault, to get a guilty verdict; they had the assailants’ smart phones.

Swap “social media” for “television” in Benedict’s assessment of the Big Dan’s case, and it could apply to Steubenville: “The all-pervasive presence of television contributed to making the media part of the story itself, which elicited its own set of reactions among the public,” she wrote.

Benedict added that the Big Dan’s case “evolved into a blatant example of the way women are regarded once they become rape victims. And it put the press to an unusual test—a test of how to be fair in the light of violent feelings, extreme and opposing points of view, and vociferous criticism.”

Media outlets have been put to that same test of fairness while covering Steubenville. Many have failed in significant ways.

Take for instance this recent report from ABC’s 20/20. From the report’s opening lines: “The juvenile trial … is every parent’s nightmare and a cautionary tale for teenagers living in today’s digital world.”

Is it a nightmare that there was a trial, or that a child was raped?

As the Steubenville case has shown, the real “cautionary tale” is that American teenagers either don’t think rape is wrong or have such a distorted view of rape that they can’t recognize it when it occurs right in front of them.

This chilling truth is confirmed by Evan Westlake’s testimony. Westlake is a friend of the convicted rapists who admitted that he saw the victim lying naked on her side and not moving while Richmond was “beside her performing a sex act and Mays was smacking his penis on her side.”

“It wasn’t violent,” testified Westlake. “I didn’t know exactly what rape was.”

The teens’ inability to identify rape—or even wrongful treatment of another human being—is also evident in the excruciating video of the assailants’ friend Michael Nodianos, who was taped drunkenly laughing about the assault and mocking the victim with other boys.

Yet the 20/20 report makes it sound like the “cautionary tale” is: If you rape someone, be careful not to upload the evidence. People can see it!

The piece goes on to dismiss use of the term gang rape to describe the attack. “The social media frenzy took on a life of its own, with reports going as far as calling the incident a ‘gang-rape’ of an unconscious girl. In reality, prosecutors contend that Mays and Richmond used their hands to penetrate her while she was too drunk to consent.”

More than one person took turns sexually assaulting a single victim. That sounds like a gang rape to me; it does not need scare quotes around it to suggest it is a questionable description.

A few paragraphs later, the incident is described as “reckless teen behavior.”

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post Twitter account put out a tweet with the word rape in scare quotes: “Witness claims he recorded, deleted high school ‘rape.'” There was plenty of room in that tweet to include the word alleged. (The tweet was deleted after push back.)

And after the verdict was announced Sunday, two CNN anchors and a contributor discussed how the “promising” lives the convicted rapists had been ruined. “There’s always that moment of just—lives are destroyed,” said legal contributor Paul Callan. Note the passive tense there. The implication is that the rapists didn’t ruin their own lives by raping; rather, their lives were ruined by an outside force, or someone else.

Callan also noted that Mays’ and Richmond’s mandatory enrollment in a sex offender registry “will haunt them for the rest of their lives,” with nary a mention of how sexual assault can affect survivors for the rest of their lives.

After the Big Dan’s trial, Cheryl Araujo was ostracized in her hometown and moved to Florida, where she died at in a car crash at age 25.

Thirty years—a whole generation—after that case, some journalists are fawning over convicted rapists, and locals upset with the guilty verdicts are dragging Jane Doe’s name through the mud. Two teen girls were arrested Monday for physically threatening the victim on Twitter—the same day Fox News broadcast a clip exposing the name of the victim, who is a minor.

In her chapter on the Big Dan’s case in Virgin or Vamp, Benedict quotes the Washington Post:

“What is remarkable about the whole exercise is how nothing much has changed. For all the talk about rape recently, for all that has been written, for all the progress supposedly made by the women’s movement, people are still trying to explain the rape by wondering what the victim did to provoke it.”

Sadly, that could have been written today.

Analysis Violence

Advocates Cautiously Optimistic After Guilty Verdict for Daniel Holtzclaw: ‘This Is a Great Start’

Kanya D’Almeida

“We are pleased with the 18 counts that we received; we are not pleased with the 18 that we didn't," OKC Artists for Justice Co-Founder Grace Franklin said at a press conference on the steps of the Oklahoma County District Court on Friday afternoon. "There were five women who did not receive justice, and that is a problem."

Read more of our articles on the Daniel Holtzclaw trial here.

It was just after 9 p.m. on Thursday night when Judge Timothy Henderson entered the courtroom to read out the much-awaited verdict in the trial of a former Oklahoma City police officer accused of sexually assaulting 12 Black women and one teenage girl.

The all-white jury had deliberated for more than 40 hours behind closed doors, keeping the press, lawyers, activists, and family members of both the victims and the defendant completely in the dark for days as to what the outcome would be.

In a testament to the tension that has mounted around this casewith almost daily protests in support of the victims taking place outside the Oklahoma County Courthouse since the trial began on November 2—Judge Henderson preceded his announcement of Holtzclaw’s fate by asking for “order” in the courtroom and saying he would not tolerate “any outbursts.”

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He then read the verdict: Daniel Holtzclaw, who had just turned 29 that day, was found guilty of 18 of the 36 charges against him, including forcible oral sodomy, sexual battery, and rape in the first degree. Jurors recommended a total of 263 years of jail time for the offenses, meaning that depending on how the judge divides up the sentences, Holtzclaw could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Of the recommended 263 years, 120 are a direct result of Holtzclaw receiving four convictions for first-degree rape, each of which carries a recommended 30-year sentence. One of the victims was a teenager, just 17 years old at the time of the rape for which Holtzclaw has now been found guilty.

Jurors also slapped him with a recommended combined 68-year sentence for four counts of forcible oral sodomy, each carrying between 16 and 20 years of jail time. He was found guilty on six counts of sexual battery and three counts of “procuring lewd exhibition.” The final conviction was a 12-year sentence for rape in the second degree by instrumentation.

Half of the charges against him returned “not guilty” verdicts—18 in total, including four counts of sexual battery, one count of stalking, one count of burglary, and one count of indecent exposure.

The verdict vindicates eight of the 13 accusers who took the stand in the course of the five-week trial.

Despite a chilling absence of any major national media outlets during the trial, more than 107,000 tweets were posted with the hashtag #DanielHoltzclaw on Twitter Thursday night, as local journalists and Black Lives Matter activists shared live updates on the verdict and the mood in the courtroom.

After hearing his first guilty conviction, Holtzclaw broke down in tears, sobbing uncontrollably as the judge read off one sentence after another. After he was remanded to the custody of the Oklahoma County sheriff—where he will remain until the official sentencing on January 21—local news crews filmed clips of the victims’ families and supporters embracing one another, praying, and expressing their gratitude that “justice has been served.”

“I was overjoyed and really gratified that this case was handled in such a way that this man was not allowed to escape the consequences of his actions,” Camille Landry, co-convener of the Oklahoma City group Occupy the Corners, told Rewire in a phone interview.

“Justice is hard to come by,” she said, “but this verdict really gives me a little bit of hope that maybe all of these struggles aren’t in vain, that there’s some semblance of justice, somewhere, for some people, some time. We’ve got a long way to go, but this is a great start.”

Landry expressed frustration that some local media channels have been overplaying the possibility of a “negative” public response, saying they hope that community members will “keep the peace.”

“I find this incredibly offensive,” she said. “The organizing around this case has always been a peaceful processwe’re not the ones wreaking violence on others. Even the Oklahoma City Police Department (OCPD) made it a point to note that community leaders have conducted themselves appropriately, and activists have worked with the OCPD to keep people informed and shine a light on this process.”

“In fact,” she added, “some of the most effective witnesses against Holtzclaw were members of the police department.”

Holtzclaw was dismissed from the police force in January, following initial investigations into a complaint lodged by a then 57-year-old Black woman, the oldest of the 13 accusers and the first to come forward, that the former cop forced her to perform oral sex on him after pulling her over in a routine traffic stop.

Shortly after the verdict came down last night, the OCPD said in a Facebook post that they were “pleased with the jury’s decision … and firmly believe justice was served.”

Up until Judge Henderson read out the final verdict, however, it was anyone’s guess which way the jury would swing. Black activists in particular have come to expect a degree of immunity for those involved in violent crimes against the Black community, a reality that was driven home for many with the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin back in 2013.

“I’m still in shock about the verdict,” Rachel Anspach, a senior staff writer at the African American Policy Forum (AAPF), told Rewire. “It felt good to get some good news for once, and while his conviction will not undo the brutality that he enacted upon his victims, it will prevent him from preying on more vulnerable Black women.”

“The fact that an all-white and mostly male jury could convict Holtzclaw, particularly after the victim-blaming and -shaming tactics that the defense used during the trial, shows that some progress is being made and that our work to make visible the realities of rape and state violence may be taking hold on some level,” she added.

Anspach was referring to the defense’s trial strategy of calling the integrity of the victims’ characters into question, repeatedly referring to their past encounters with the criminal justice system and in, many cases, the women’s histories of substance dependency.

In the end, this strategy appears to have backfired, as it merely served to highlight how Daniel Holtzclaw systematically preyed upon poor and otherwise marginalized women in a low-income neighborhood on the east side of Oklahoma City that served as his patrol area between December 2013 and June 2014.

As dozens of witnesses, including forensic experts and detectives, testified, Holtzclaw went after women with existing warrants and prior criminal convictions, using this knowledge to coerce the women into sexual acts. On multiple occasions, he used his so-called suspicions of drug possession as a pretext for procuring lewd exhibition, and groping, fondling, and even penetrating his victims.

The defense evidently hoped that shaming the survivors would cause the jury to doubt the validity of their testimonies. This did not prove to be the case for eight of the accusers, but for those five women whose testimony the jury essentially deemed invalid, the defense lawyer’s tactics may indeed have been the deciding factor.

“We are pleased with the 18 counts that we received; we are not pleased with the 18 that we didn’t,” OKC Artists for Justice Co-Founder Grace Franklin said at a press conference on the steps of the Oklahoma County District Court on Friday afternoon. The group has been instrumental in mobilizing support for the victims and was the first to draw national attention to the case.

“There were five women who did not receive justice, and that is a problem,” she went on. “These women deserve to be heard … and we want to say to the nation, there has to be a conversation about sexual assault, about rape, and about the specific care that Black women and women of color need when these situations arise.”

She said the public has a tendency to not believe Black and disenfranchised women, a tendency to not value them the way other women are valued. “So today we stand to say that the 18 guilty counts are importantbut the 18 not guilty counts are reflective of serious issues we have in this country.”

As the survivors themselves have testified, the fear that no one would take their word over the word of a police officer forced them to keep silent. One survivor, S. H., who testified she was handcuffed to a hospital bed when she was assaulted, said she was so shocked that she was “speechless.” Flanked by her parents at Friday’s press conference she said, “I felt scared, I didn’t know what to do. I was in survivor mode so I had to do what he was making me do.”

Holtzclaw appears to have grown accustomed to this reaction, seeming almost to take it for granted that no one would report him. He miscalculated badly the night he decided to stop J. L., his last victim and the first to report him.

Addressing a sea of reporters and television cameras Friday, J. L. said Holtzclaw fondled her and “did things she never thought a police officer would do.” She said his gun was visible throughout the assault, and all she could think was that he was going to shoot and kill her. “I kept begging him, ‘Sir, please don’t make me do this, don’t make me do this, sir,’ and the only thing I could see was my life flash before my eyes.”

Unlike many of Holtzclaw’s other victims, J. L. had no prior criminal record, no warrant for her arrest, no substance dependence issues he could leverage. So when, “by God’s will” he finally let her go, she drove straight to the police station to lodge a complaint, sparking a massive investigation and the subsequent trial.

“I guess he just picked the wrong lady to stop that night,” she said.

With the judge still undecided on how Holtzclaw will serve the recommended 263 years, groups like OKC Artists for Justice are calling for consecutive, as opposed to concurrent, sentences, using the hashtag #WeWantLife to express their demands.

One of the survivor’s mothers who addressed the press conference Friday afternoon said it would be unjust if Holtzclaw were allowed to serve his sentences concurrently. “This won’t be a just outcome for the 13 women, those 13 Black queens, who have been violated in such a harsh way,” she said. “I just want to say that I’m not satisfied and I pray that … he is not free [anytime] soon to walk these streets and maybe terrorize someone else.”

While advocates are determined to remain vigilant and continue pursuing justice for those victims who were not vindicated by Thursday’s verdict, they are also cautiously optimistic that the trial outcome represents a small step forward for justice for Black women.

“I believe this verdict is unprecedented, and represents what will hopefully be a critical step toward the visibility of Black women victims of state violence and rape, and toward a culture where we can see Black women, regardless of the circumstances of their lives, as potential victims of sexual violence,” AAPF’s Anspach stated.

“Hopefully now an increasing number of activists, journalists, and the public in general can move toward recognizing sexual assault as a form of police violence and one that we need to center in our movement to combat state violence alongside police killings,” she added.

Commentary Violence

Patrick Kane and the Culture of Disbelief About Rape

Katie Klabusich

Right now I have to consider that this season I may be a rape survivor cheering for a team led by an accused rapist.

Practically everyone in Chicago has a Patrick Kane story.

As a former bartender who was slinging drinks in the Windy City when hockey reappeared like magic on our televisions in 2007 turning a lost generation of Chicagoans into fans of the young, exciting team featuring first-year phenom Kane and his captain, Jonathan Toews, I certainly have mine. And though I’ve always been more of a Patrick Sharp girl (I’m almost done crying about the trade), I’ve appreciated Kane’s work on the ice—delivering three championships in six seasons. I’ve also sort of appreciated him in a bizzaro feminist way for having managed his party rep without his name being automatically associated amongst service staff with misconduct allegations à la Steelers champion quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Until now.

Blackhawks fans who had planned to spend the summer celebrating the return of Lord Stanley’s Cup must instead come to terms with the news that their star 26-year-old forward is an accused rapist. As criminal defense attorney turned sports reporter and rape survivor Julie DiCaro has covered so adeptly for the Chicago Tribune, some are handling it better than others.

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“When it comes to the Kane investigation, Internet stupidity abounds,” writes DiCaro, below a list of representative examples. “And while it’s tempting to laugh off some of the comments as written by misguided juveniles with a serious case of hero worship, the problem is actually much bigger. Tweets, comments, rumors and news reports like those above are reflective of the way our society treats those who report rape.”

While local radio hosts and writers are largely handling the situation with grace and consideration for all involved, DiCaro’s words aren’t hitting home for a significant portion of the Blackhawks fan base. You couldn’t pay me enough to be a call screener for a local sports station right now.

***

Kane spent Saturday, August 2 at SkyBar, a popular nightclub in his hometown of Buffalo, New York, reportedly leaving around 3 a.m. with two women to continue partying at his house in nearby suburban Hamburg. Around 4 a.m., one of the women—whose name is being withheld (police say they are abiding by a gag order)—went into another room by herself; Kane reportedly followed and raped her.

The alleged victim then did what rape culture deniers demand of all sexual assault survivors: she found her friend, left, and called a family member on her way to the hospital, where she submitted to an exam and reported the attack to law enforcement. To their credit, Hamburg police appear to be taking her accusations seriously; they have searched Kane’s home and the case has been assigned to Roseanne John, head of the Special Victims Unit in the Erie County District Attorney’s Office. Research outlined in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence estimates that almost half of rape survivors who report experience “secondary victimization” by law enforcement. Being believed by enough personnel (most rape victims must tell their stories repeatedly) to prompt the search of a local celebrity’s home and the hiring of an expert SVU prosecutor before potential charges are filed shows a level of engagement and willingness to believe the victim we can’t, unfortunately, take for granted.

According to details obtained by the Buffalo News, the alleged victim even bears the marks rape apologists and perpetrators of the “stranger rape myth” expect of anyone truly not consenting to the encounter: bite marks on her shoulders and a scratch on her leg. She has behaved as a supposedly model victim, fighting back physically and then legally, risking the public ridicule that descends upon anyone who dare sully the name of a beloved athlete.

Obviously, I don’t know exactly what happened that night; I’m not privy to the ongoing police investigation or hospital reports and I haven’t had interview time with Kane’s accuser. What I do know is that statistically, I can’t expect relief for the knot in my stomach that formed when I first saw headlines of the incident. Research tells us that more than 92 percent of rape reports are credible. Considering we hardly have a contingent of rape survivors who were granted fame and fortune as a reward for accusing a well-known man of assault, I’m inclined to eschew society’s unfortunate convention and simply believe her until I see evidence she put herself through this ordeal without cause.

I’m not on a jury, so save the “innocent until proven guilty” nonsense. That’s a legal term, not a cultural requirement.

And, listen. I’ll be uncomfortably honest: like any fan of any sport (or anything, really), my heart sank when I heard that an integral member of a team I have rooted for—whose jersey hangs in my closet—was being investigated for something heinous. Also like any fan, my first impulse was to close my eyes and utter the sentence, “Please don’t let it be true.”

For anyone who’s more than just a casual sports consumer, it’s understandable to hope your team isn’t tarnished or is about to lose a player so good, a mere seven years in he’s already past the 100-point mark in his playoff career. With a contract extension through 2022-2023, Kane is poised to become the most celebrated player in team history. Permanently breaking up the Kane-Toews line would likely usher in another championship drought.

So, of course I had the thought. As hard as it is to admit, that was my first impulse. I’m human, which means my brain automatically considers how unexpected news will affect me before processing what it means for other people. Because I am a justice-oriented survivor who’s educated on the effects of rape culture and understand what it takes for someone to report, I processed all of that in pretty rapid succession—but I have to admit to myself that even I started from a self-serving mental moment of disbelief.

What I haven’t done and won’t do is participate in the toxic pastime of victim-bashing as a show of support for my bro, Kaner. Almost as though he knew it was on the way, Chicago sportswriter Tim Baffoe published an outstanding critique of “He’s my guy!” style fandom the day before a rape apology-laden hashtag caught fire. Ostensibly designed to prop up #88, the #iSupport88 thread is a predictable haven for crass name-calling, rape “jokes,” and non sequitur love for Bill Cosby and other celebrities accused of sexual assault.

In his piece, Baffoe holds nothing back, saying, “Patrick Kane is not your friend. You are not his dawg, and he is not your bro … And you need to stop with the garbage default setting of rushing to defend him. Even under the guise of “innocent until proven guilty.’”

In a tight-knit sports town like Chicago that thrives on the perception of personal connection, those are fighting words. Baffoe was just getting started:

The reflex of “Leave Kaner alone—you’re ruining his reputation!” or anything remotely putting the onus on the woman involved shows you’ve let sports fandom strip you of your humanity. Your ethics have grown so out of whack while drunk on being a fangirl or fanboy that you’ve drowned your soul. You value sports over violation of the human body, and you then become no different than, say, a defender of [child-abuse enabler] Joe Paterno.

Well done, sir.

Right now I have to consider that this season I may be a rape survivor cheering for a team led by an accused rapist. And so, for the remainder of the off-season, I’m rooting for law enforcement, the Blackhawks organization, and the National Hockey League to break from rape culture and handle the case in a way that recognizes the needs of the alleged victim as more important than the reputation of the accused.

I’m not entirely sure what the appropriate action for the Blackhawks and the NHL to take would look like. How do they balance the uncertainty of an ongoing investigation with the rapidly approaching start of training camp? As SI.com writer Allan Muir succinctly paraphrased Chicago Tribune columnist David Haugh yesterday, “Kane’s uncertain legal status puts the Hawks in an impossible position. With training camp less than six weeks away and the justice system moving at its own deliberate pace, the team may be forced to suspend the star winger.”

Do the Blackhawks wait? Do they hope the league steps in to suspend him, letting them off the hook? Would the team or the league be on solid ground legally to suspend a player before there are charges and/or a conviction, as Haugh calls for?

“In the post-Ray Rice era of professional sports, a first-class franchise such as the Hawks cannot allow a player facing serious allegations to represent it until more clarity about the case exists,” Haugh wrote. “The thing about setting a standard of excellence as high as the Hawks have is living up to it; no single player, not even a living legend, can compromise that commitment to integrity.”

I’m inclined to agree that the risk of sending Kane out on the ice despite the statistical probability that the accusations are true is more risky than suspending him and being forced to apologize later, should his accuser recant or turn out to be in the false reporting minority. And I certainly applaud the decision by EA Sports yesterday to pull Kane from their NHL 16 cover and promotional roll-out:

For people who couldn’t care less about sports, why does the handling of a rape accusation by a professional sports team or league matter? I get this question on the regular every time another high-profile athlete is accused of assault or National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell does something detestable. The answer is simple: We are a nation of sports fans and human beings do not compartmentalize our experiences. It’s not just that athletes are disproportionately revered in our society; for better or worse, they’re recognizable public figures even outside their fan bases. According to a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll last year, over 100 million people had watched the Super Bowl despite 25 percent of respondents saying football “has the most jerks” out of any professional league.

People are disinclined to believe someone they know is capable of a crime like rape. Seeing someone’s face and hearing their name as often as is typical of stars and champions leads people to feel, as Baffoe pushed back on, like we know them. Even if we don’t like a player very much, it’s quite a step to go from dislike to believing someone is the evil outlier our culture tells us commits rape.

Because of this culture of disbelief, the language that’s used as the investigation continues is extremely important—as evidenced by the somewhat predictable vitriol of the #ISupport88 crowd. Those close to Kane and the team have been tight-lipped, but the statements that have been made manage to walk the line of avoiding the kind of enthusiastic support that erases or gaslights victims while not openly condemning someone who hasn’t yet been charged with a crime.

Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz briefly weighed in with firmer language than sports fans are used to hearing at an allegation stage of a potential public relations nightmare, saying, “We’re disappointed but hopeful,” Wirtz said. “Beyond that, it would not be appropriate to expound upon.”

If the team makes the move to suspend Kane preemptively, it’ll be sending a strong signal not just to players, but to fans—specifically female fans. The Blackhawks boast a 45 percent female fan base that’s well above the league average of 37 percent and is partly responsible for their ability to re-sign Kane and Toews for a combined $168 million. You can’t afford that price tag without both routinely selling every ticket in your stadium and bringing in massive merchandise sales numbers. The Blackhawks wouldn’t have as much of their team intact without us.

Simply continuing to refrain from hinting at motives on the behalf of the alleged victim or from promising to stand by the accused no matter what would be a bright spot in the very dark intersection of sports and rape culture. But Wirtz and the league owe more to both their female fans and to a city that welcomed them back with open arms after years of inaccessibility. If league rules allow for a suspension, the Blackhawks should take that action. If they don’t, it’s time for the league to revisit how it handles the misconduct of its players.

I’m rooting for the NHL and the Blackhawks to do the right thing so I can buy a new jersey this fall and cheer without hesitation for a team I love.