While various games in the NBA, MLB, WNBA, and MLS have been postponed, canceled, or forfeited, Game 3 of Bruins – Lightning went on as scheduled on Wednesday. The NHL held a “moment of reflection” before the performing of the national anthems.
“End Racism” and “We Skate for Black Lives” were displayed on screens during the statement in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake. You can watch that “moment of reflection” in the video above. Here’s the text of the NHL statement, which PA announcer Mike Ross read:
“Racism has been embedded in our society for far too long. Today and every day, the NHL and the hockey community are committed in the mission to combat racial injustice and achieve a fair society for all. The NHL would like to take this moment to wish Jacob Blake and his family well and call out to our fans and communities to stand up for social justice and the effort to end racism.”
Later on Wednesday, there was no “moment of reflection” before Avalanche – Stars Game 3.
Nazem Kadri: "Eventually words get stale and it's about action and making a difference."
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) August 27, 2020
Reactions to NHL’s decision to play games, “Moment of Reflection”
Islanders forward Anders Lee indicated that he found out about NBA players deciding not to play right before he answered questions from the media following the Flyers’ 4-3 overtime win.
While the Islanders and Flyers were in a tough spot, plenty of players, media, and fans criticized the NHL and its players for not postponing Game 3 of Bruins – Lightning (and, as far as it looks, Game 3 of Avalanche – Stars). Matt Dumba, a prominent member of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, told Sportsnet 650 that it was “disheartening.”
“NHL is always last to the party on these topics,” Dumba said, via ESPN. “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.”
Before Bruins – Lightning Game 3, Sportsnet’s Kelly Hrudey ranked among those criticizing the decision to play on. While it’s fair to note that not every single other game was canceled, many prominent ones were.
Players have a role in this, too
As the league absorbs criticism for the decision, it’s important to consider the players involved. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports that NHL exec Bill Daly mentioned “our players are free to express themselves in any manner they feel is appropriate.” Evander Kane, for example, called for more solidarity, something worth considering after seeing Dumba make a heartfelt speech by himself earlier in the NHL Return to Play.
NBC Sports’ Anson Carter called for more action, too:
"We can do more. Clearly, we need to do more."@AnsonCarterLA, @liam_mchugh and the @NHLonNBCSports team react to the Bucks' decision to boycott Game 5, and the NBA postponing all the games tonight. pic.twitter.com/4TXeJwO0cQ
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) August 26, 2020
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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.