Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you probably know what Black Lives Matter is and for what it stands. Overall, the NHL has taken a nose dive right into the point of racial equality and still managed to miss.
A few years ago, the league launched a campaign called ‘Hockey is for Everyone.’ In June this year, several players started the ‘Hockey Diversity Alliance’ to promote racial equality. The Hockey is for Everyone campaign was originally an alliance with LGBTQ+ fans but has since expanded to racial injustices.
Unfortunately, the HDA has split from the National Hockey League after just a few months. They claim the league was only taking performative actions and were not ready “to make any measurable commitments to end racism in hockey.”
With a predominantly heterosexual, white, male, right-leaning fan base, there is no question of why there was some resistance. In 2017, JT Brown raised his fist in protest during the national anthem to call attention to racial injustice. He began to receive death threats. Brown was invited to the Tampa Bay Police Department ride-along program. In a Twitter post, Brown said he’d had good and bad experiences with police, but overall respects what they do. However, many people saw this as the Tampa community trying to silence Brown rather than listening to his issues as a black man in the league.
Overall, the last few months have been filled with empty gestures from teams across the NHL. In early October, the Arizona Coyotes drafted Mitchell Miller. Miller has been accused of relentlessly bullying a black disabled student for eight years, from second grade until just two years ago.
When the story became public, the Coyotes claimed they would turn this into a teaching moment but keep Miller on the roster. After a statement from the victim and his family, more damning information was brought to light. Mitchell had used derogatory terms and refused to apologize for the incident(s) publicly. On October 29th, the organization renounced the draft rights of Miller. This leads to several inevitable questions; are they doing this as a real action against racism or was this a desperate backpedal because they got caught in a PR nightmare?
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