San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane called for Sidney Crosby and other high-profile athletes to speak out against racism in the wake of the killing of of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as well as other racial injustices. On Wednesday morning, the Pittsburgh Penguins captain released a statement to show his support and desire to get educated and help make a difference.
“What happened to George Floyd cannot be ignored,” Crosby said via a statement released by his Sidney Crosby Foundation.
“Racism that exists today in all forms is not acceptable. While I am not able to relate to the discrimination that Black and minority communities face daily, I will listen and educate myself on how I can help make a difference.
“Together, we will find solutions through necessary dialogue and a collective effort.”
For some people, this statement came way too late from the star player, and many were quick to criticize Crosby.
And that didn’t sit well with former Penguins’ teammate Georges Laraque, who contacted The Athletic to defend his former captain.
“I’m black,” said Laraque, who played for the Penguins for two seasons from 2007-08. “And I know it’s a very sensitive time. We are all feeling that. But to criticize him because he didn’t put a statement out as fast as people wanted him to? I think it’s ridiculous. I think people should be happy that he released that statement. And I know what kind of a person he is.”
He had more to say about Crosby, who many also thought has been doing just fine in his role as a leader in the Pittsburgh community, something I think no one would really argue with.
“He does not see color, first of all,” Laraque said. “He really doesn’t. There is no racism inside of him. Absolutely none. I never felt disrespected in Pittsburgh. He’s just a great, great person and such a great teammate. He was really young but he was a great captain. In my opinion, there should be absolutely no criticism of him. I think it’s ridiculous. I couldn’t believe some of the things I saw people saying about him. I just had to brush it off.”
It’s great to hear Laraque share his personal experience with the Pens’ captain, whom I had no doubt about his views and integrity. You can see that Laraque will always be an enforcer, ready to fight for the teammates he cares about.