Patrick Kane has already been found guilty: of hubris, which is a volatile mix of conceit, vanity, arrogance and haughtiness.
Who convicted him? Not you and me, who are perhaps guilty of the same. Not a court, where the core problem of self-centeredness can never be fixed.
Kane condemned himself. He pled to the charges of excessive pride in his own words within the last week.
Just days ago, when he attended a ceremony in Buffalo with the mayor to celebrate building improvements to his childhood ice rink, Kane was ensnared in a web of trying painfully to describe himself as a bigshot in Chicago and a regular guy in Buffalo.
That split personality would soon surface in a violent way, perhaps fueled by alcohol since it was a wee-hour meltdown.
If Kane did what he is charged with doing cold sober, he needs a different and more serious kind of treatment program, one that deals with narcissists. Let's hope he was drunk. Underage drinking is better than underage delusion.
Even if the cabbie now seems willing to settle out of court, as his lawyer indicated in a WGN-AM (720) interview Monday, that doesn't change the fact Kane and his cousin overreacted when cabbie Jan Radecki refused to unlock the doors until he got his proper fare.
OK, you can get mad about that. But do normal people start swinging in that instance, beat up a guy over it? The fix might be in with Radecki getting money for his compliance. That won't change the crux of the story.
Both sides may be trying to sweep this incident under the rug with Radecki's lawyer insisting it has been "blown out of proportion." The blowup still will bulge out like an unsightly corpse hidden under the carpet.
"They don't treat me like a celebrity or whatever they might treat me like in Chicago," Kane said at his hometown rink renovation in praise of his Buffalo buddies whose friendship he treasures, since it puts him at ease.
The awkward end of the sentence is more telling than what he was trying to convey about his friends. Kane believes he is singled out in Chicago because he plays for the Blackhawks. He is seperate from us common folk. He is not just somebody; he's SOMEBODY. At the age of 20.
Overmarketed? Overhyped? That merry-go-round sometimes turns into overbearing. It's a common pitfall, where the stars believe the publicity elevates them to preferred status.
He alluded to being treated differently in the city where he works. Such an inflated image played out aggressively early Sunday morning when Kane allegedly smacked around a cab driver in Buffalo with enough force to leave cuts, bruises and swelling.
The dispute was over 20 cents difference in the fare. Small amounts can explode into laughingly big conflicts when a SOMEBODY is involved. Kane has just joined the ranks of Lindsay Lohan. He won't enjoy the company.
"You don't know who you're (messing) with, (expletive)," the cabbie recalled Kane screaming at him. Kane was basically saying the same thing both times: I'm special. Believe it. I'm THE GUY. Whack, you peasant.
Parents and school teachers try to instill that feeling of individuality in children. They want them to feel special and capable of singular accomplishments. Kane was probably babied and praised effusively as he developed as a teenager with his special skating and offensive talent.
But when you decide you're special and the other guy is an asshole, which seems to be the word used spitefully toward the cabbie, your perspective is in need of an overhaul.
"Pride leads to destruction, and arrogance to downfall," it says in Proverbs. "Pay attention to what you are taught and you will be successful."
Many of us have violated that law, and it's the one that Kane already stands to be convicted on.
Kane is tumbling in the maelstrom at the moment, but millions before him have experienced the same stomach-plunging downfall against which Proverbs warns. It can be an awakening or the first entry on your rap sheet.
For instance, the Toronto Star recalled former hockey players who had trouble with the law. One was former Blackhawk and Maple Leaf Mark Bell, who was first arrested at 18 when he had an altercation with a cabbie. Bell played then in junior hockey in Ottawa. The charges were dropped and Bell had to do community service as restitution.
Seven years later in 2006, Bell was arrested again. This time it was for DUI and hit-and-run. Therein lies the moral of Kane's story that is yet to play out. How will he turn out years down the road?
He will be remorseful right now. He may be tearful. He undoubtedly will be humble. He likely will also do community service as his felony charge is probably reduced to probation. But will he stay out of trouble, which is the hardest thing of all to do?
Kane has just saved himself some personal time for the coming season. Unless president John McDonough wants to feature him in a bad-boy community service commercial, he won't be needed in front of any cameras to promote the Blackhawks.
The commercial pairing of Kane and Jonathan Toews has just broken up. Toews has become a solo act overnight and I think he will enjoy that better. The captain of every ship needs to stand on the bridge alone.
What will become of Kane? Likely a sentence of telling youth of his sins. Likely an NHL suspension. Likely a reduced status from SOMEBODY to ASSHOLE. At least for a while.
Sometimes the names we angrily call others are just a reflection of ourselves. Kane will be staring into a lot of mirrors in the days ahead. ASSHOLE will be staring back.
He can decide that he needs to become somebody in small letters. Or he can choose to think he is still better than the rest of us, a shining star unjustly treated.
Here's hoping the kid grows up fast. He will have to mature quickly to be shielded and inured from the slings and arrows that are about to come his way.
If you rooted for Kane before, root for him harder now. And make it for the right reason so he can be a productive member of the Blackhawks for years to come, on and off ice.
There are members of the Blackhawks Alumni who have been through similar traumas. They will be an important support system for the kid.
Just as long as he is willing to listen. Maybe somebody should grab him by the throat, like the cabbie said Kane did to him.
Hockey players should understand tough love. Kane is about to be hammered harder than ever before. Let's see if he can take it. Let's support him if he's willing to be a regular guy in Chicago and Buffalo.
We don't need any more inflated stars here. We need heroes, common folk with uncommon talents.
And let me share with you, Patrick, one piece of advice I have learned from many years of trial-and-error. If you're making almost a million a year now, and millions more to come, take limos and use credit cards.
It'll save you plenty of headaches later on. And some limos even have closed windows that seperate the passenger and driver. Comes in handy if you ever get that late-night urge to choke someone.