Sharks’ Karlsson backs teammate Kane, admits to being ‘blind’ to issues

San Jose Sharks defenceman Erik Karlsson. (Tony Avelar/AP)

San Jose Sharks defenceman Erik Karlsson is showing his support for teammate Evander Kane, who spoke out last week about the need for allies in the hockey community in light of the issues of systemic racism and police brutality that have come to the forefront amid the protests over the death of George Floyd.

In a post put out on his Instagram account on Wednesday, the two-time Norris Trophy winner said he’s been “blind” to the issues for a long time, and called for progress through “learning and listening.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written and deleted this hoping it comes across the right way. I don’t think I’ll ever feel completely comfortable, but the reality that exists for so many others is pretty much as far away from comfortable as you can get. Coming from and growing up in a small village in Sweden, I never knew anything other than you should treat everyone the same way you would want them to treat you. I never once thought about skin colour, where you come from, how you dress or what you possess. No person is worth more or less than another. You always treat someone the way you would want them to treat you regardless of how you look or where you are from. To be where I am right now in 2020 and see the things I see and hear the things I hear, it blows my mind how blind I have been to the issues that have been here for a very long time and that still exist. I thought I grew up in a world where it didn’t matter what skin colour you had or where you’re from and that we are all the same, but I now know I was not educated on something so crucial. Unfortunately, we cannot change the past, but we for sure can and need to change how we move forward and I think we can do that by learning and listening. I respect and support Evander (Kane) for what he stands for and how he’s so vocal about this issue. I haven’t gone through any of these issues in my life, so I can never say I know what it’s like. But all I know is that I want my daughter and all other children to grow up in a world much, much better than ours right now. A world I thought I grew up in where we are all equal and treated as such. A world that didn’t exist, but I pray soon does.

Last week, Kane called on more voices in prominent positions to use their platforms to encourage meaningful change.

Karlsson joined fellow NHL stars Connor McDavid, P.K. Subban, Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron on Wednesday in speaking out following Floyd’s tragic murder and the demonstrations taking place across the U.S. and around the world.

Over the weekend, Sharks captain Logan Couture said in a post on Twitter that hockey players cannot continue to turn a “blind eye” to racism.

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