In response to NHL players not kneeling during the playing of the American and Canadian national anthems, hockey fans posted photos of themselves kneeling in support of Black Lives Matter on Twitter on the eve of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs taking place in Toronto and Edmonton.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s son, Eric, congratulated the NHL on Twitter for having their players stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” in Wednesday night’s exhibition.
Companies throughout America, including sports franchises and leagues, have addressed racial inequality and injustices since George Floyd, a Minnesota Black man, died May 25 during an arrest by police.
The incident was caught on video and showed officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Chauvin was fired, arrested and is awaiting trial. Three other officers who did not intervene on the scene were also charged.
The NBA has Black Lives Matter on the courts at the Disney complex in Lake Buena Vista, where they launched the continuation of its 2019-20 season that was interrupted due to COVID-19, from the novel coronavirus that’s caused a global health crisis. The NBA also sees players wearing shirts that say, “Say Their Name,” on the back.
The NHL, meanwhile, announced last week its #WeSkateFor program to be unveiled Saturday with the first playoff games. The program, the league said, is for frontline workers, nurses, equality and Black Lives Matter.
But the Hockey Diversity Alliance, which is made up of nine current or former players, doesn’t see the NHL’s message as genuine enough, according to TSN.
“The NHL can put Black Lives Matter all over the rink, shout Black Lives Matter from the mountains,” HDA co-head Evander Kane, a San Jose Sharks player, told TSN. “No matter what they do or say, it’s all going to fall on deaf ears with me and every other person in the HDA because the league has made no effort to support its own Black players.”
However, Wednesday’s exhibition that drew praise from Eric Trump left hockey fans showing their support for BLM and racial injustices in kneeling when the players did not.
Here’s a sampling of those tweets:
— Jillian Fisher (@FisherJillian) July 31, 2020
— Brayden (@Engel_Brayden) July 31, 2020
Today, we as hockey fans need to #Kneel4Hockey if we really want #HockeyIsForEveryone to be true. I love the sport, but work needs to be done to make the game open, accepting, and available to everyone.
Support #BlackLivesMatter and @BlackGirlHockey pic.twitter.com/21I4W9Ojld
— Joe Ginley (@JoeGinley) July 31, 2020
— Kevin Shafer (@shafer_soc) July 31, 2020
I #Kneel4Hockey because BIPoC and LGBTQ hockey players, coaches, staff members and fans deserve to be seen, heard and included. #BlackLivesMatter #HockeyIsForEveryone #TakeWarning
— Chris Moore (@Chris_Moore26) July 31, 2020
i love this sport, and hope someday it actually will be “for everyone.” but we’re not there yet and we won’t get there without a fight. now is the time for @nhl to decide what side of history they’d like to fall on.#Kneel4Hockey #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/yta5r6rfHs
— Katya pride was a riot (@plscallmesurely) July 31, 2020