On Wednesday, Aug. 26, the Boston Bruins lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning, 7-1, in embarrassing fashion, falling to a 2-1 series deficit.
The blowout loss wasn’t even close to the main story of the day. Instead, the focus lies on the harsh reality that social and racial injustice exists in this country and around the world. And athletes from all realms — especially of minority background — are fighting for change.
The NHL played all scheduled games on Wednesday, but they followed the NBA’s lead and postponed games the following day. The league will resume play on Saturday at noon with the Bruins and Lightning taking the ice for Game 4 in Toronto.
Sports are meant to be fun. They provide a distraction from everyday life for diehard and casual observers alike. The fact that we are calling upon them as a beacon of light to address racial inequality shows the true gravity of the situation.
Professional athletes boycotting games speaks volumes and is a step in the right direction. We tend to learn a lot about players whenever they face adversity in their respective sports. Now it’s maybe time to reflect and learn a little bit about ourselves.
We all have to take the time we would have spent watching our favorite teams and think about how we can be better as individuals and as a community. We are all accountable and we are all created equal.
Our world is at a crossroads. We’re fighting two pandemics, a health emergency — COVID-19 — and a humanity crisis. The latter spans generations and centuries.
We’d love nothing more than to watch our favorite teams vie for championships even under the most unusual of circumstances. But we also understand there are bigger issues to discuss beyond the sporting realm.
Patrice Bergeron said it best after taking a question on this topic following the Game 3 loss: “I think I’m just going to keep that at, Obviously…we stand against any type of racism. My stance and our stance doesn’t change. Again, any form of injustice and I’ve made a statement earlier, a few months ago, Zee [Chara] did as well. I stand behind that statement. I want to be a part of it, part of a solution. Obviously, there needs to be change. That’s where I’m at. Obviously, it’s about human rights, and that’s it, that’s all I have to say for that.”
Bergeron’s teammates and fellow peers echoed those sentiments over the past 48 hours. In fact, very few players and coaches took hockey questions during their media availability.
In other words: they’re not just sticking to sports.
“Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but it’s very evident and clear that this is bigger than sports,” Brad Marchand said. “Sports is a luxury, but when it becomes about people’s safety and people’s lives, it’s more important than sports. I understand people want to watch the game and to see us, but we have bigger things we want to support.”
The athletes, coaches, and upper management inside the sporting realm have the best platforms to speak out against racism. So do celebrities and politicians.
But make no mistake, all of us need to help end systemic racism once and for all.
Matt is a recent graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in sports journalism and a minor in business. He currently reports on the Boston Bruins and writes featured stories and game recaps for both Bruins Daily and Boston.com
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