Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba and San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane criticized the NHL over its response to the Jacob Blake shooting while several games in the NBA, WNBA and MLB were postponed as players decided not to show up in protest over police brutality.
Dumba was among the NHL players who took a knee as the league worked its way back from the coronavirus pandemic that shut down sports entirely. He told Sportsnet he was disheartened by the league’s response.
“NHL is always last to the party on these topics,” said Dumba, who is a founding member of the Hockey Diversity Alliance. “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.
“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 2 cents heard. 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 am I 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?’”
Kane expressed a similar sentiment in an interview on Sportsnet.
“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. 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,” Kane said.
“We support and applaud the NBA,” Colorado’s Nazem Kadri said. “I understand this is a problem that’s gone on for far too long … Eventually words get stale. It’s about action and making a difference.”
Dallas’ Tyler Seguin added: “I support what’s going on, I support the movement. And I think hockey needs honestly to do more. But I think we can all show our actions in different ways.”
No NHL games were postponed though a moment of silence was held.