On Sunday night, Minnesota Wild defenceman Matt Dumba raised his fist during the national anthems in an act of peaceful protest against racism. It was a powerful statement seen around the hockey world, as more and more athletes use their platforms to raise awareness of racial injustices that permeate society.
That Dumba’s was the only fist thrust into the air was immediately evident, which led to a question directed at Wild head coach Dean Evason about whether there had been any talks of the team joining Dumba in future acts of peaceful demonstration.
“Nope, there’s been no discussions,” Evason said, when asked by The Score‘s John Matisz whether the rest of the team might also raise a fist or lock arms during the anthems. “The only thing we’ve discussed as a staff … is that we want to eliminate racism for good.”
Dumba is the second NHL player in the league’s history to raise his fist during the anthem. The first was J.T. Brown, back in 2017 during his time with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown is now with the Wild organization but did not join the team in the NHL bubble after spending the 2019-20 season with the club’s AHL affiliate in Iowa.
Dumba said on Sunday that he consulted Brown on his decision.
“For the rest of the time throughout playoffs and the qualifiers, I’ll be raising my fist for both national anthems, something that I can stay consistent through,” Dumba said earlier on Sunday. “Talking with J.T. [Brown], if you’re not on that starting lineup you might be on the bench and if I take a knee on the bench you might not see me.”
Proud to call @matt_dumba a friend. Keep being a leader
— JT Brown (@JTBrown23) August 3, 2020
In June, Dumba became one of seven NHLers (current and former) to bring the Hockey Diversity Alliance to life — an organization with the goal of eradicating racism and intolerance across the hockey world.
He represented the HDA on Saturday afternoon as he stood at centre ice and delivered a passionate, powerful speech urging everyone watching to drive the conversation forward. He then knelt for the U.S. national anthem, becoming the first NHL player to do so.