After San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane called on fellow NHL players to use their platform and call for racial equality both in hockey and life, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara joined numerous NHLers who spoke up in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis. Chara posted a message from New Balance asking people to sign a petition for justice for Floyd and to push for change through “not just words but peaceful action”.
In an appearance on ESPN’s ‘First Take’ Friday, speaking in reference to Floyd’s tragic death Kane pushed for more white athletes and specifically his white NHL brethren to speak up about the racism that exists in the NHL and the society it exists in.
“I think hockey, unfortunately, has a different culture than some of the other sports in terms of speaking out and using your voice and speaking your mind. I think, for me, I’m one of the anomalies when it comes to NHL players and doing that.,” Kane said. “That’s another part of our problem is guys being scared to really speak their mind and stand up for what is right.”
In hockey, it’s a majority white league by far. It’s not even close. So we need to continue to come together. We talk about it all the time. We talk about how sports is for everybody. We talk about sports bringing people together,” he said. “It’s an inclusive thing, but when we talk about our own personal battles outside of sports, there’s a lot of people that are silent on issues and they’re important issues. They’re issues that have been going on for hundreds of years and we need that some type of team mentality to be brought to issues outside of our sport.”
— Evander Kane (@evanderkane_9) May 29, 2020
Like Chara, Kane’s teammate Logan Couture immediately supported Kane.
My thoughts. Sorry if this offends anyone. All love ❤️ pic.twitter.com/9BbktIrxqd
— Logan Couture (@Logancouture) May 30, 2020
Kane’s former teammate and Minnesota native Blake Wheeler put his voice out there as well.
“I’ve wanted to say something for a while, but it’s been really difficult knowing what to say,” the former Bruin, current Winnipeg Jets captain said. “My hometown is burning. Businesses where I grew up are being boarded up. America is not OK. Growing up outside Minneapolis, I always felt sheltered from racism. That’s because I was. Most people I grew up with looked like me. I never had to be scared when I stopped at a traffic light or saw the police in public. My kids will never know that fear either.
I’m heartbroken that we still treat people this way. We need to stand with the black community and fundamentally change how the leadership in this country has dealt with racism. I’m sorry it has taken this long, but I’m hopeful that we can change this NOW. George Floyd’s life mattered. Ahmaud Arbery’s life mattered. So did every other life that has been lost by this senseless violence and racism.”
I needed to say something in my own words. pic.twitter.com/VpkidaMjbX
— Blake Wheeler (@BiggieFunke) May 31, 2020