Professional athletes have all been speaking out against the killing of American citizen George Floyd in recent weeks but some professional athletes have been out of the spotlight longer than others through no fault of their own.
One such player has been Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel who, after being named an All-Star earlier this season, suffered a gruesome injury on the very say day that put an end to his season. At least his season would have been over had things played out in their normal course, but now however there is a good chance that Guentzel will be back in the Penguins lineup as a result of the extra long layoff everyone in the National Hockey League is currently experiencing.
It was for that reason that Guentzel spoke to reporters this week and perhaps anticipating that he would receive questions regarding the slaying of Floyd, Guentzel came prepared and opened the call with a statement on the matter.
"These last couple of weeks, it’s been pretty tough. Watching the death of George Floyd was pretty disturbing," said Guentzel. "For me personally, it was disheartening knowing it was pretty close to home for me. I want to say my heartaches with that and for everyone involved. I’m ashamed that racism still exists to this day."
"My eyes have definitely been open and I am definitely committed to educating myself and making a difference out there," said Guentzel.
Guentzel was of course also asked about his "status" during the media availability as well and although he would not confirm anything regarding his return, he did make it clear that he was moving through the Bruins recovery protocols.
"Just every day, day by day, I'm hanging in there and getting better everyday. Just sticking to the protocol and doing what I gotta do, if we start playing hopefully I'll be ready by then, well see."
I think it would come as a surprise to no one to learn that Guentzel desperately wants to be in the playoffs, especially given how fortunate he must feel that the timing of this stoppage has given him what once must have seemed like a lost opportunity. Thankfully for Guentzel he still has some time to recover before training camps are set to begin for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.