Whether you agree with the sentiment or not, yesterday was a historic day in the sports world. The NBA effectively shut down, several MLB teams followed suit, while the NHL elected to carry on with business as usual.
NBA players from the Milwaukee Bucks essentially staged a walk out to raise awareness to the issues of police brutality and racial injustice in the wake of Jacob Blake's shooting by police officers in Kenosha, WI. Enough NBA teams followed the Bucks' lead that the NBA had no choice but to postpone all of yesterday's games. NBA players will reportedly gather and meet again today to determine plans for the balance of the NBA playoffs.
Meanwhile in the NHL the league held a "moment of reflection" prior to Game 3 between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning, but to be frank it came across as a hollow, empty gesture with little to no impact. But, did we really expect NHL players to stage a walk out protest? The league is predominantly caucasian and it's full of Canadians and Europeans. With all due respect basketball and hockey are racially and culturally very different sports and, as such, their participants come from very different backgrounds and face very different day-to-do realities. There are exceptions certainly, but the fact of the matter is that very few hockey players are as in tune with the issue of racism in America than basketball players are. But then there are people like NHL analyst Anson Carter.
The former NHLer turned analyst is, of course, a black man and he's had to deal with racism head on in his lifelong journey through the hockey world. So when he spoke out last night on NBC Sports, I took a moment to really listen. After all, this is a man who has first hand experience dealing with racism in hockey and he can offer up some true insight into how to improve things. What he said was maybe the most well thought out and well spoken statement of the evening.
Check it out:
That's what I'm talking about! Real change!
These protests have been fantastic at raising awareness, but what do we do now? We have to make real, tangible changes. Well said, Anson. Well said.