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Evander Kane: The Pete Rose Punishment?

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

The NHL has begun investigating allegations that the San Jose Sharks left wing Evander Kane has been gambling on his own games. On an Instagram page purporting to be Evander’s wife, Anna Kane dropped some serious allegations that Evander has been working with bookies and betting on his own games. For purposes of this article, I will assume that the posts from the @A.Kane_ Instagram account truly came from Evander's wife, Anna Kane. That said, she made a crystal clear plea to the NHL and Commissioner Gary Bettman in her Instagram story stating:

“@nhl Can someone ask Gary Bettman how they can let a player gamble on his own games? Bet and win

with bookies on his own games?”

Anna Kane also posted a screenshot on her Instagram, and explained in an Instagram story, that she received an alleged email from Evander which he gave her instructions on moving out of their house which was being taken by the bank and she had to sell her wedding ring. In a since-deleted story, Anna Kane stated:

“How does the NHL let a compulsive gambling addict still play when he’s obviously throwing games with

bookies to win money? Hmm maybe someone needs to address this.”

Earlier this year, Evander’s financial troubles came to a head. In January, Evander filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in which he listed his liabilities as $26.8 million and admitted that $1.5 million of that was due to gambling. However, this wasn’t Evander’s first publicized gambling issue. In 2019, Evander was sued by The Cosmopolitan casino in Las Vegas, where they allegedly extended $500,000 of gambling markers to Evander, in April of 2019, that he allegedly failed to pay. Further in May 2021, Evander was sued for $15 million by a lender, Professional Bank, for allegedly defrauding the company on a loan application.

This brings us to the NHL collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”). The CBA was ratified on January 12, 2013, and is effective until September 15, 2026, following a four-year extension in June 2020. Of most importance here is exhibit 14 “Form of Standard Club Rules” which states, “Gambling on any NHL game is prohibited.” (emphasis added). Article 18-A sets forth the commissioner discipline for off-ice conduct. The commissioner’s disciplinary authority is set out in 18-A.2, which states:

“Whenever the Commissioner determines that a Player has violated a League Rule applicable to Players (other than Playing Rules subjecting the Player to potential Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct), or has been or is guilty of conduct (whether during or outside the playing season) that is detrimental to or against the welfare of the League or the game of hockey, he may discipline such Player in any or all of the following respects:

(a) by expelling or suspending such Player for a definite or indefinite period;

(b) by cancelling any SPC[1] that such Player has with any Member Club; or

(c) by imposing a fine on the Player not exceeding the maximum permissible fine under Section 18.7(b).[2]

The easiest comparison we can make in this situation is Pete Rose. Rose is known for two things in baseball: most hits of all time and his permanent ban from the MLB (preventing him from being elected to the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame). Rose was a known gambler and, like Evander Kane, struggled financially.[3] On March 20, 1989, the MLB and Commissioner Peter Ueberroth began their investigation of tax and gambling issues involving Rose. After a two-month investigation, by special counsel John Dowd, a 225-page report resulted including records and testimonies that evidenced Rose had bet on the Reds when he was a player-manager and manager from 1985-1987. Ultimately on August 24, 1989, Rose voluntarily placed himself on baseball’s permanently ineligible list, and the MLB agreed not to release the investigation findings. Rose has remained on the ineligible list since 1989, despite his efforts to be reinstated.

The NHL Public Relations tweeted out that they are conducting a full investigation into the aforementioned allegations. The next steps here are for Commissioner Gary Bettman to suspend Evander Kane indefinitely until they complete their investigation. Evander Kane could face future fines and the possibility of his SPC being cancelled.

Worst of all, if the allegations prove to be true, Kane may never play in the NHL again... and the sport's relationship with gambling would be set back decades. Pete Rose, baseball... déjà vu.

Mike Lawson is an Associate for O'Connell and Aronowitz in Albany, NY. He is the Producer of the Conduct Detrimental Podcast and can be reached on Twitter @Mike_sonof_Law.

[1] Standard Player’s Contract. [2] A fine may be in an amount up to fifty percent (50%) of the Player's Paragraph 1 NHL Salary and Bonuses, but not including Performance Bonuses, divided by the number of days in the Regular Season, but in no event shall it exceed $10,000 for the first fine and $15,000 for any subsequent fine imposed in any rolling twelve (12) month calendar period. Player Salary and Bonuses forfeited due to a fine will be calculated based on a Player's Averaged Amount. [3] In 1990, Pete Rose pled guilty to two felony counts of filing false income tax returns, in which he was sentenced to six-months in prison and fined $50,000.

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