Over the past week we have seen protests from multiple sports league's following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin and the National Hockey League has been no exception. Although protests or boycotts from players in the National Basketball Association have received a good bit of praise in this regard, with the NBA also getting its fair share of critics to be sure, similar protests in the NHL have been met by far more backlash from fans, especially as more and more evidence in the case of Jacob Blake has come to the forefront.
Despite the reaction from their own fans however the NHL and its players have largely moved forward with their plans and have now even delayed the playing of their playoff games in an effort to send a political message. That message however has been met by even more derision from the NHL's fans and now there is a very clear message being sent to at least some NHL teams by some of those fans, fans who just so happen to wield a lot of financial muscle.
According to comments made by SB Nation's Robert Tiffin this week there are now "big clients" of the Dallas Stars organization who have made the decision to cancel their accounts with the team following some political protests from a pair of their players. Specifically Tiffin cites the fact that both Stars forward Tyler Seguin and Stars forward Jason Dickinson took a knee during the national anthem as the reason behind the cancelation from the as of yet to be identified "big clients." You may not think that this is a particularly big deal given the millions that teams normally pull in every year, but I assure you nothing could be further from the truth. No league depends more on ticket revenue than the NHL and this will no doubt send a powerful message to the Stars ownership group.
I have to admit that given the fact that the Stars play in Dallas, Texas makes this news come as relatively little surprise. Texas is after all largely a red state and when you combine that with the fact that hockey has a very blue collar audience it is not hard to imagine how those clients may have felt about the decision to protest against law enforcement and in defense of Jacob Blake.
I suspect that we may hear more stories like this if the protests continue, although I wonder how much freedom NHL players will be given on this front if it continues to hit the owners in their bank accounts.