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Blackhawks issue statement on George Floyd’s death, mass protests

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The Blackhawks are the latest Chicago professional sports team to release a statement on the current events.

NHL: JAN 14 Blackhawks at Senators Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Blackhawks released a team statement Monday in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the ensuing protests that have spawned in Chicago, the United States and beyond.

“The events over the past several days have been painful for our city of Chicago and the many communities within it. There is no tolerance for racism and inequality in our city and society.

We need to educate ourselves, have more honest conversations and acknowledge that we have a lot of work to do, beginning with our own organization. Chicago has been our home since 1926, and we need to work harder to build a more equitable Chicago for all of our citizens. We owe it to ourselves, our city, all of our residents and our next generation.

Our thoughts are with the family of George Floyd and the many others who have experienced similar devastating losses. Our thoughts are also with the many hardworking people and small businesses who have suffered over the past several days. We need to work together to move forward as One Community. The Chicago Blackhawks remain committed to that.”

The Blackhawks’ statement comes one day after the NHL’s statement, saying the League “stands with all those who are working to achieve a racially just society.”

As protests in both the United States and Canada in recent days have focused attention upon racial injustice for the Black community, the NHL stands with all those who are working to achieve a racially just society, and against all those who perpetuate and uphold racism, hatred, bigotry and violence.

We share the sentiments expressed by our players and Clubs in their calls for justice, and we encourage everyone to use their platforms and privilege for systemic change. In our own sport, we will continue to do better and work diligently toward culture change throughout hockey and endeavor to be mindful of our own shortcomings in this process.”

There have been protests of all sizes across the U.S., including in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs, following Floyd’s death May 25 in Minneapolis. Since then, athletes and teams from several sports have spoken out against racial injustice, including Blackhawks goaltender Malcolm Subban, who is Black, and forward Zack Smith.

Here is Smith’s statement in full:

“As a privileged white man playing in the NHL (a predominantly white league) I feel it’s as important now as ever to show support for the black community and encourage change. If you think the current way Black people and other minorities are treated here today is OK... you are a racist. If you don’t have an opinion or are ‘neutral’ on this subject then you are ignorant and very misinformed. I strongly disagree with rioting and looting of homes and small businesses but if you resent this movement because of the actions of a few vandals then you are missing the point entirely.

As hockey players we sometimes come off as robots in our interviews and stay clear of opinions on most social issues and controversy. Personally, I don’t like posting my opinions on social media these days for several reasons. However, with the amount of racist people (especially those in positions of power) being exposed during this movement I felt the need to show my support for the Black community and the need for change. Please be safe and take care of each other out there.”

The Blackhawks aren’t the only Chicago professional sports franchise to release a statement on the recent events. On Friday, the NWSL’s Red Stars shared a Black Lives Matter message on Twitter. Then Sunday, the NBA’s Bulls, who share the United Center with the Blackhawks, released a joint statement from Nancy and Michael Reinsdorf, and the WNBA’s Sky general manager and head coach James Wade filmed a personal video message that was shared on the team’s Twitter account.

For more ongoing coverage of the protests, Second City Hockey recommends visiting the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and The Triibe.