Monday, August 10, 2009

New Blackhawk marketing slogan: Bring exact change!

Jeopardy Answer: Twenty cents.
Question: What amount of money did Patrick Kane fight a Buffalo cabbie over?

To the benefit of no one, Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane became a punchline this weekend.

According to police, Kane and his cousin took a cab ride in the early hours of Sunday. The fare was $13.80 and the young men handed the driver $15. The driver handed them back a $1 but didn't have the 20 cents. What followed was a bizarre altercation and a tarnished reputation.

Marketing athletes is a high risk endeavour. The list of tarnished reputations is long: O.J. Simpson, Rae Carruth, Ben Johnson, Barry Bonds, Marion Jones, Jose Conseco, Pete Rose, Mike Tyson, Michael Vick, Roger Clemens, Darryl Strawberry, Todd Bertuzzi, etc, etc.

Sure the incident has already been blown out of proportion. But why did it even happen? To understand the bizarre nature of the dust-up, you need to think about the focused lives of pro athletes. From the time he was 14 years old, when Kane outgrew Buffalo’s minor hockey system and moved to Detroit, the 2008 Calder Trophy winner has been elite. He was a winner in every sense of the word, getting drafted first overall by Chicago and heading straight to the NHL.

Like all high-level athletes, Kane got to the top of the mountain with a mixture of skill and competitiveness. The latter did him in this weekend. Yeah, like the guy with a Calder Trophy is gonna back down from a 62-year-old with no trophies…come on!