Sharks' Evander Kane: NHL's Lack of Action on Racism 'Incredibly Insulting'

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 27, 2020

San Jose Sharks left wing Evander Kane wipes his visor during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Arizona Coyotes Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. The Coyotes defeated the Sharks 6-3. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

The Milwaukee Bucks' decision to forgo playing Game 5 of their scheduled first-round playoff matchup against the Orlando Magic amid ongoing protests against social injustice and systemic racism Wednesday set forth a chain of events that reverberated throughout the American professional sports landscape. That included the postponement of other NBA playoff games and WNBA contests, an on-court WNBA protest and the calling off of some MLS and MLB games.

The NHL, which held its entire three-game slate late Wednesday, has received backlash for a perceived lack of action on that front after police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, seven times in the back Sunday.

The San Jose Sharks' Evander Kane spoke up Wednesday:

Evander Kane @evanderkane_9

Actually it’s incredibly insulting as a black man in hockey the lack of action and acknowledgement from the @nhl, just straight up insulting. https://t.co/1KrpUvFhaQ

The NHL produced a pregame statement Wednesday that put forth a call to end racism and to "wish Jacob Blake and his family well," per Shayna Goldman of The Athletic:

Shayna @hayyyshayyy

The NBA, WNBA, and MLB did not play games as scheduled today because players chose to strike. This was the NHL's response.. https://t.co/aDGoYZyiJt

Kane had previously spoken with David Amber of Sportsnet to discuss what the NHL could do to support efforts to end systemic racism:

Sportsnet @Sportsnet

"It's not just my responsibility as a minority player in the NHL to be talking about these issues... We need to be better." @evanderkane_9 joined @DavidAmber to discuss how the NHL can do more to support the Black Lives Matter movement. https://t.co/wKFqxS0hav

Earlier Wednesday, Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba offered his thoughts on the NHL's response to Sportsnet 650:

"I know what's going to happen, and I don't think much is going to happen from that standpoint. But it's just back to it, I don't know, the NHL we're always late to the party, especially on these topics, so it's sorta sad and disheartening for me and other members of the [Hockey Diversity Alliance], and I'm sure other guys across the league.

"But if no one stands up and does anything, it's the same thing—it's just that silence that you're just outside looking in on actually being leaders and invoking real change when you have such an opportunity to do so."

Elsewhere, ex-NHL goalie and current Sportsnet analyst Kelly Hrudey said he felt games should not be played Wednesday:

Sportsnet @Sportsnet

"I don't think we should be here. I think the NHL should postpone the games. I really feel that we should be more supportive of Black Lives Matter." @KellyHrudey on Hockey Central tonight: https://t.co/nff94uR9JX

ESPN's Emily Kaplan also expressed her disappointment:

Emily Kaplan @emilymkaplan

Disappointed, but not surprised the NHL is the only pro sport continuing to play tonight. Hockey has a chance to join a statement for social change. Instead, once again, the NHL is just looking the other way.

Two NHL playoff games are scheduled to take place Thursday, beginning with the Philadelphia Flyers' matchup against the New York Islanders at 7 p.m. ET.