Evander Kane says more athletes need to speak out against racism


Evander Kane was cleared by the NHL in its investigation of whether he violated cross-border COVID-19 protocols, paving the wave for him to join the Oilers. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane joined ESPN’s First Take Friday morning where he discussed the tragic death of George Floyd and how the sports world can do more to help fight racism.

“We need so many more athletes that don’t look like me speaking out about this, having the same amount of outrage that I have inside, and using that to voice their opinions, voice their frustration. Because that’s the only way it’s going to change,” Kane said. “We’ve been outraged for hundreds of years and nothing’s changed. It’s time for guys like Tom Brady and Sidney Crosby, those type of figures, to speak up about what is right and, clearly in this case, what is unbelievably wrong. Because that is the only way we’re going to actually create that unified anger to create that necessary change.”

Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, died Monday after being pinned to the ground beneath a Minneapolis officer’s knee for several minutes while handcuffed. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday afternoon.

Kane said on First Take that while his teammates have been “unbelievably supportive” of him and what he stands for, the culture around the sport doesn’t encourage players to publicly share their opinions.

“I think hockey, unfortunately, has a different culture than some of the other sports in terms of speaking out and using your voice and speaking your mind,” he said. “I think, for me, I’m one of the anomalies when it comes to NHL players and doing that. That’s another part of our problem is guys being scared to really speak their mind and stand up for what is right.”

Evander Kane on advocating against social injustice and the importance of hearing athletes' voices
May 29 2020

Earlier this season, Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters resigned from his position after Akim Aliu revealed an incident in which Peters directed a racial slur at him when the two were together in AHL Rockford 10 years ago. Aliu’s story brought to light cultural problems in the game at all levels and he met with deputy commissioner Bill Daly and commissioner Gary Bettman in December to discuss what needs to change.

Kane encouraged players to speak out and stand up for what they believe in.

“We need to continue to come together,” he continued. “We talk about it all the time. We talk about how sports is for everybody. We talk about how sports is where you bring people together. It’s everybody’s. It’s an inclusive thing. But when we talk about our own personal battles outside of sports there’s a lot of people who are silent on issues. And they’re important issues. They’re issues that have been going on for hundreds of years and we need that same type of team mentality to be brought to issues outside of our sport.”


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