Sharks forward Evander Kane called for Sidney Crosby and other high-profile athletes to speak out against racism in the wake of the killing of of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as well as other racial injustices.
Kane, appearing on ESPN's "First Take," spoke on the importance of non-black athletes speaking out.
“We need so many more athletes that don’t look like me speaking out about this, having the same amount of outrage that I have inside, and using that to voice their opinion, to voice their frustration," Kane said. "Because that’s the only way it’s going to change.
“We’ve been outraged for hundreds of years, and nothing has changed. It’s time for guys like Tom Brady and Sidney Crosby and those type of figures to speak up about what is right and clearly in this case, what is unbelievably wrong. That’s the only way we’re going to actually create that unified anger to create that necessary change, especially when you talk about systematic racism.”
In a second interview on Sportsnet's "Writers Bloc" show, Kane further elaborated on why high-profile athletes like Crosby speaking up would be so meaningful.
“It would make a huge difference, first and foremost,” Kane said. “When you have ethnicities other than the ones that are being affected step up and say something, that causes a real dialogue. It can cause real change. And it can cause people to really open up their eyes and come together, and I think that’s the biggest thing. And we don’t have nearly enough of that, clearly."
Kane acknowledged in his ESPN appearance that it's uncommon for hockey players to speak up at all when it comes to social injustices.
“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,” Kane said. “I think I’m one of the anomalies when it comes to NHL players doing that. That’s another part of our problem, guys being really scared to speak their mind and stand up for what is right.”
Kane and other black hockey players, like Minnesota's JT Brown or New Jersey's P.K. Subban, regularly speak out on racial injustices:
If you know me, THINK you know me, played with me, coached me, LOVE me, HATE me, it doesn’t matter. Just ask yourself this ⬇️ because I see a lot of you still sitting. https://t.co/VEBUI5EiCz
— Evander Kane (@evanderkane_9) May 30, 2020
What would you do to prevent your murder? To prevent the murder of your child, brother, sister, friend, community? We tried to peacefully kneel or raise a fist but that made us un-American, a distraction, a son of a bitch. Today I am a thug, but tomorrow will I be a hashtag?
— JT Brown (@JTBrown23) May 29, 2020
— P.K. Subban (@PKSubban1) May 30, 2020
Sharks owner Hasso Plattner came forward in support of Kane speaking out:
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) May 29, 2020
Still, there have been few white athletes, especially in hockey, who have used their platforms to speak out on such issues. One player who has used his platform is Kane's teammate Logan Couture, who posted a message to Twitter on Saturday.
My thoughts. Sorry if this offends anyone. All love ❤️ pic.twitter.com/9BbktIrxqd
— Logan Couture (@Logancouture) May 30, 2020
Winnipeg's Blake Wheeler retweeted a message from the No. 1 overall pick in this year's NFL Draft, Joe Burrow, speaking about injustices, then later wrote his own message:
I’ve been trying to find these words for days. This hits the nail on the head https://t.co/UWE78ay5sm
— Blake Wheeler (@BiggieFunke) May 30, 2020
I needed to say something in my own words. pic.twitter.com/VpkidaMjbX
— Blake Wheeler (@BiggieFunke) May 31, 2020
Other white NHL players shared their own messages after Kane's call for support:
— Connor Carrick (@connorcarrick) May 31, 2020
— Anze Kopitar (@AnzeKopitar) May 31, 2020
Kings public relations joined their captain Anze Kopitar in releasing a statement condemning racism:
— LAKingsPR (@LAKingsPR) May 31, 2020
Several other players spoke out against racism after former NHL player Akim Aliu wrote about the racism he faced at all levels in hockey throughout his career for the Players' Tribune:
Thank you @Dreamer_Aliu78 for sharing these truly disturbing accounts of racism and ignorance. I hope that we can all listen and be active participants in the change that is needed. https://t.co/SIhZ4tCgDl
— Ryan Miller (@RyanMiller3039) May 20, 2020
We have to do more as a hockey community https://t.co/EhIBufTvrU
— Stephen Johns (@stjohns28) May 20, 2020
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