The NHL is trying to appear like it’s finally woke and boy is it awkward.
The New York Rangers (and the Knicks) released a late, limp statement about racism, which was surely destined to be the worst, most embarrassing tweet of the day from that corner of the sports world. But then the NHL said: “Hold my Molson.”
On Tuesday, the 10th anniversary of a goal no one saw and thus, never happened, the NHL released a video of Tyler Seguin attending a Black Lives Matter march in Dallas, along with oddly cheerful music and social media messages saluting Seguin. In fairness to Seguin, his statement on George Floyd seems genuine and heartfelt and participating in the protest is a terrific gesture.The NHL’s tweet comes a day after the announcement of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, led by Akim Aliu and Evander Kane and joined by Trevor Daley, Wayne Simmonds, Chris Stewart and Joel Ward, all black players, and Matt Dumba, who is half-Filipino. Why not celebrate their voices while simultaneously promoting some of your few minority stars? That should have been a no-brainer. It was just last month that the NHL basically stood silent hoping that Aliu’s story of racist abuse at the hands of players and coaches would go away.
Well on the way to being ratioed, the NHL pulled the video after a few hours.
Hemal Jhaveri of USA Today put it best:
“What didn’t need to happen was a minute long canonization from the NHL, so eager to take the praise for one of their white players getting woke, that they totally missed why it would be wrong to center a white player during a time when we need to hear Black voices.”
Jhaveri also points out that J.T. Brown stood alone and was subjected to death threats for raising a fist during anthem ceremonies in 1997 to show his support for racial justice. “This is what structural and institutional racism looks like, summed up in one tweet,” she wrote.
Brown, incidentally, is still out there protesting and advocating for justice.
Corporations with enormous clout and a dicey history of diversity issues might as well spare themselves the embarrassment at this point. Unless you’re going to go all Ben & Jerry’s on a statement (complete with specific plans for the federal government to take action), perhaps the best course is to simply hire some black people and keep quiet, listen and educate yourself on where to give money.
Looking for ways to advocate for black lives? Check out this list of resources by our sister site Lifehacker for ways to get involved