Today is the fourth of July, America's Independence Day, a day when people get together with friends, family, and loved ones and celebrate the freedoms they enjoy and the nation that guarantees them those freedoms. For most it is a day that brings them joy and happiness but unfortunately that is not the case for everyone. On Saturday controversial National Football League personality Colin Kaepernick took to social media to "reject" the horrors of the fourth of July, because of course he did, all the while benefiting from the fact that he lives in a country that has allowed him to become a million dollar athlete with a huge following on social media. It was a predictable take from the rather dislikeable former NFL quarterback and as you would expect given such a take he has been met with a ton of pushback on social media but unfortunately his divisive message will continue to spread and I have no doubt he will be making similar statements again in the future.
There was another black athlete who felt compelled to share his thoughts today however, one that plays not in the NFL but rather in the National Hockey League, and as someone who covers the sport of hockey I must admit I could not be more proud of our athletes. On Saturday New Jersey Devils forward P.K. Subban took to social media and shared a message of his own, a very different message that promoted unity instead of stoking division among people. Ironically enough Subban, who has now lived in America for several years as a member of the Nashville Predators and the aforementioned Devils, is Canadian born but showed far more class when addressing the American holiday.
"Gradually we have to work towards a goal of everyone feeling accepted. That comes with educating each other and listening to each other. It comes with accepting that we all don't have the answers. but know that we can better and must be better. Change is the process of becoming different. There are things that need to change and have to start with yourself, start with love, and start with respect. Today I toast everyone who believes in love, equality, and respect. Today, think of a world where we all love each other and get along; what a world that would be. Cheers to better days ahead. I love you all Happy 4th America."
Both men are trying to combat the same issue but are simply going about things in a very different manner, and I cannot express how grateful I am that we have an ambassador like P.K. Subban in the game. He may not be everyone's cup of tea on the ice, and I can respect that, but the man has given millions to sick kids, has helped bridge the gap between police officers and minority communities in America with his "Blueline Buddies" campaign in Nashville, and will no doubt continue his incredible community work as a member of the New Jersey Devils.
The world could use more athletes like P.K. Subban.