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Winning a championship brings you money and fame. Many athletes enjoy the recognition that comes with winning a title. For others, it leads to trouble. Being a champion can go to an athlete’s head, making him think he is above the law. This might be what happened to three-time Stanley Cup champion Patrick Kane in 2009 when he was arrested for attacking a cab driver. His reasoning is astonishing for someone who’s made millions in the NHL.

Patrick Kane’s NHL career

Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks | Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

The Blackhawks made Kane the top overall pick in the 2007 NHL entry draft, and the pick has paid off immensely for the team. Now in his 14th season with Chicago, Kane has played in 976 games. In those contests, he has 390 goals and 634 assists, giving him 1,024 points — which puts him in the top 10 among active players in all three categories. Sixty-two of his goals, or nearly 16% of his total, were game-winners.

Kane has played in the All-Star Game nine times and has been awarded a number of awards. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year in the 2007-08 season. In the 2015-16 season, he earned the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s MVP. He helped the Blackhawks hoist the Stanley Cup three times.

The incident with the cab driver

When a story about an athlete includes the phrase “during the early morning hours,” it’s usually not going to be anything good. This was the case with Kane and his cousin, James, in the early morning of August 9, 2009, in Buffalo, reports ESPN. The Kanes had an incident with a 62-year-old cab driver. They were arrested when the cabbie, Jan Radecki, told police that the cousins attacked him.

The reason? Radecki told them that he didn’t have 20 cents in change for their fare. The attack reportedly left the cabbie with broken glasses and bruises. The family pair was initially charged with felony robbery charges, which could have resulted in significant fines and/or prison time if convicted of the charges.

The legal aftermath of the attack


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When the case went to the grand jury in Erie County, N.Y., the felony charges were dropped. Instead, the Kanes were indicted on lesser charges: assault in the third degree and theft of services — both misdemeanors — and harassment, which is considered just a violation-level offense. Kane found out about the more serious charges being dropped during a U.S. Olympic orientation camp.

He told reporters, “If the felony’s dropped, that’s obviously a positive step, definitely.” For his part, the cabbie wasn’t seeking jail time for the Kanes, according to his lawyer. Instead, he wanted a public apology. There was also talk about a possible plea deal. This “would be based on the victim’s wishes, the severity of his injuries and other factors” according to the district attorney assigned to the case.

The Kanes initially pled not guilty to the charges, the Buffalo News reports. But they ultimately pled guilty to a noncriminal violation of disorderly conduct. This spared them any jail time on the condition that they stayed out of any trouble with the law for one year.

As part of the plea deal, both defendants were ordered to offer written apologies to Radecki. After the plea was entered, Kane’s attorney continued to defend him. He reminded reporters that “neither Patrick nor James Kane committed a crime, and they have not been convicted of a crime.”