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The NHL’s Silence Is Deafening

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With an opportunity to stand with other sports leagues and teams who yesterday walked off the job to protest yet another extrajudicial killing of a person of colour in America, the NHL made an embarrassing minimal effort gesture. We hear you, NHL. Loud and clear.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins - Game Three Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

“Power for the powerless - well, where?

Screaming at the wall to make more sense...

... I melt back into indifference

The silence is deafening”

‘Silence Is Deafening’ by Napalm Death (from the album ‘The Code Is Red... Long Live The Code’)

It started with words from Toronto Raptors players, discussing how they were ready to walk away from it all, a pretty powerful statement by the defending champions. From there, it became action as the Milwaukee Bucks refused to leave their dressing room, and the other NBA teams scheduled to play last night followed in solidarity. It spread to other leagues, as many MLB, WNBA and MLS teams also walked out (we must be clear on this: it is a walkout, it’s not a boycott. We as fans boycott. This is essentially a wildcat strike).

And with the opportunity to put action behind their words, the NHL whiffed on the shot. A picture posted on the jumbotron in an arena devoid of fans is as empty a statement as one can make. Even the HNIC folks were questioning the games being played last night, which was great to see.

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After the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, we joined our fellow SBN colleagues in going dark for a day to protest the systematic racism that plagues the United States and Canada. Months later, there is no change, and again we need to take action.

It’s a game day for the Canucks, and we’d love to be able to be getting you set up for Game 3 against Vegas tonight. Right now, hockey seems so unimportant in light of the continued actions of those who are supposed to protect and serve all of us. So we’re going dark today, and hope you will join us.

We’re going to resume with postgame coverage tomorrow, but honestly I hope like hell that the Canucks step away today and they reschedule. Some things are bigger than sports, even in the middle of the playoffs. I saw someone say that this is a movement, not a moment, and we need to remember that, in the words of the great Joey Shithead of D.O.A., Talk-Action=Zero.

I get that it’s not an easy thing to do. It’s essentially a violation of their collective bargaining agreements for these players to step away. And that’s why they need to do it. Merely putting up a hashtag is the least you can do. BIPOC need to have their voices heard, their concerns addressed. Those with platforms have a duty to use them for this.

Here’s some ways you can get involved to help here in Canada:

https://blacklivesmatter-canada.carrd.co/#english