San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane recently took to social media to call out the NHL for its decision to push forward with its playoff games on Wednesday, August 26, amid the ongoing protests over the shooting of Wisconsin man Jacob Blake.
In a Twitter post shared late Wednesday night, Kane retweeted a post from The Score, which cited his frustration with the NHL's perceived lack of action after Blake, an unarmed Black man, was shot seven times in the back by a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer on Sunday. He wrote in the caption that as a Black hockey player, he finds it "incredibly insulting" that the league didn't properly acknowledge the seriousness of the situation.As reported by NBC Sports, the NHL proceeded as scheduled with Wednesday night's playoff action, which included second-round matchups between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins and the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars. The league held a "moment of reflection" before the former game but did not do so prior to the latter.
Other major sporting leagues, including the NBA, WNBA, MLB, and MLS, reacted to the Blake shooting by postponing their August 26 games amid various player boycotts. The NBA's Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers reportedly took things further later that night and voted to boycott the rest of the postseason, while the league's other playoff teams voted to resume play at some point in the future.
As the aforementioned player boycotts were gaining steam, Kane spoke to Hockey Central's David Amber, commending the protesting athletes for doing something that "took a lot of guts" and making a "powerful" statement in the process. After expressing his disappointment that the NHL, at that time, had yet to comment on the Blake shooting, he stressed that it's everyone's responsibility to make a stand about issues of systemic racism and police brutality, and not just that of minority players such as himself.
"[U]ntil 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 gonna be in the same situation we are today," Kane added, as quoted by NBC Sports.
Meanwhile, NBC Sports noted that many of the players on the Bruins and Lightning were apparently unaware that the NBA had decided to postpone its Wednesday games, adding that neither team had a serious discussion about choosing not to play. Additionally, Dallas forward Jason Dickinson and Colorado head coach Jared Bednar were both quoted as telling reporters that they didn't feel it was the right time or place to boycott their scheduled game.