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Sports News

MLB, NHL players ask peers to support Black Lives Matter movement

NHL games and the majority of Major League Baseball games went forward as scheduled on Wednesday, a decision some players called out as a missed opportunity.

FILE PHOTO: Jul 28, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; The Minnesota Twins and St. Louis Cardinals pause play for a moment of silence at 8:46pm to honor George Floyd who lost his life on May 25 after having his neck compressed by an officer for eight minutes and 46 seconds. at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

“NHL is always last to the party on these topics,” Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba told Sportsnet 650 in Vancouver on Wednesday. “It’s kind of sad and disheartening for me and for members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, and I’m sure for other guys across the league. But if no one stands up and does anything, then it’s the same thing. That silence. You’re just outside, looking in on actually being leaders and evoking real change when you have such an opportunity to do so.”

Dumba, who is Filipino, gave a speech on the ice in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and said players must stand up to drive change.

“It’s so much bigger than sports,” he said. “In hockey, that’s what it comes back to: You’re just relying on the minority guys to step up and say it. But what would really make the most impact is to have strong white leaders from teams step up and have their two cents heard. All the other white kids who grow up watching them, who might be their biggest fans, can look up and say, ‘Wow, if he’s seeing this and trying to stand up and to listen, then why am I not as well? Why am I continuing to hold on to this ignorance or hate that I feel towards a subject that I maybe don’t know everything about?’”

New York Mets outfielder Dominic Smith, who is Black, said Wednesday night he was disheartened that his team and players on the Miami Marlins’ roster did not consider joining the sports boycott. The teams went forward with their game Wednesday, while three MLB games were postponed.

Smith, 25, said it’s evident to him too many “people still don’t care” about police brutality. He took a knee during the national anthem for the first time before Wednesday’s game.

“To kind of see those things happen very fast, it wasn’t really a thought over here,” Smith said. “But that’s why I decided to take a knee. I’ve been very emotional. Just to kind of see this continuously happen, I mean, it was a long day for me. Kind of wasn’t there mentally. I think the most difficult part is to see people still don’t care. For this to just continuously happen, it just shows the hate in people’s heart. That just sucks, you know? Black men in America, it’s not easy. Like I said, I just wasn’t there today, but I’ll bounce back, I’ll be fine.”

Major League Baseball said in a statement Wednesday night that it stood with players -- including Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty and outfielder Dexter Fowler, who sat out the game for St. Louis on Wednesday -- and teams -- the Brewers, Reds, Giants, Dodgers, Marlins and Mariners opted not to play Wednesday -- choosing to make their voices heard.

“Major League Baseball remains united for change in our society and we will be allies in the fight to end racism and injustice,” the statement read.

-Field Level Media

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