With other major professional sports leagues’ players actively protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake this past weekend, Evander Kane and Matt Dumba are calling out the NHL and its players for failing to do the same.
“I’ll be honest, I haven’t really heard much in regards to Jacob Blake’s attempted murder. It’s unfortunate, we’re obviously talking about another Black man unarmed being shot in the back in front of his children,” Kane said, per Sportsnet. “But again, we had these conversations earlier with the George Floyd killing of continuing the conversation, furthering the conversation, everybody wanting to be better and making sure that we’re more vocal and we do better moving forward. Here’s another example, unfortunately, but it’s also another example of the lack of with regards to our league and our players and our media that cover our game.
“It’s not just my responsibility as a minority player in the NHL to be talking about these issues. It’s not just Wayne Simmonds or Akim Aliu or Joel Ward or Matt Dumba’s stance or issues in this society, it’s everybody’s. Until everybody decides to take it upon themselves and maybe step away from some of their privileges to educate themselves and really fight with us, we’re going to be in the same situation we are today,” he continued.
Kane has been outwardly critical of the league’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement several times over the past few months. He helped create the Hockey Diversity Alliance in June to eliminate racism and intolerance in hockey.
While Kane appreciates the support he’s seen from players around the league in recent months, he still wants to see real action from them.
“It’s great to write statements, it’s great to send tweets, it’s great to post stories and pictures on Instagram,” Kane said, “but at the end of the day it’s going to be about real action and meaningful change, and unfortunately that still isn’t occurring, and we need to be better.”
Dumba, who delivered a powerful speech on the Black Lives Matter movement at the beginning of the league’s qualifying round before kneeling for the national anthem, shared similar sentiments on the league’s lack of a response.
“NHL is always last to the party on these topics,” Dumba said on Sportsnet 650, according to ESPN’s Greg Wyshysnki. “It’s kind of sad and disheartening for me and for members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, and I’m sure for other guys across the league. But if no one stands up and does anything, then it’s the same thing. That silence. You’re just outside, looking in on actually being leaders and evoking real change when you have such an opportunity to do so.”
Dumba continued, explaining what he believes is needed for ongoing change.
“It’s so much bigger than sports. In hockey, that’s what it comes back to. You’re just relying on the minority guys to step up and say it. But what would really make the most impact is to have strong white leaders from teams step up and have their two cents heard,” Dumba said.
“All the other white kids who grow up watching them, who might be their biggest fans, can look up and say, ‘Wow, if he’s seeing this and trying to stand up and to listen, then why I am not as well? Why am I continuing to hold on to this ignorance or hate that I feel towards a subject that I maybe don’t know everything about?'”
The NHL has two games on the schedule Wednesday. The first, between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins, began at 8 p.m. ET. The second, between the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars, is slated for 10:30 p.m. ET.