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Allen: Kneeling NHLers say it's about human rights, not politics

August 4, 2020, 8:36 AM ET [621 Comments]
Ek's Note: From time to time I will be featuring posts from Kevin Allen in my space....Enjoy

The NHL's protest level was raised Monday night when two Dallas Stars players and two Vegas Golden Knights players took a knee during the playing of the U.S. national anthem before their round-robin NHL playoff game.

Vegas forward Ryan Reaves and Vegas goalie Robin Lehner were joined by Dallas forwards Tyler Seguin and Jason Dickinson to become the first NHLers to protest in uniform.

"It's not politics, this is human rights," Lehner said.

Reaves and Lehner decided to kneel first, and Seguin and Lehner opted to join them after hearing about their plan.

Seguin said he didn't know whether he would kneel moving forward, but said if there were other players on other teams who wanted to make a statement he would support them.

When asked what he was supporting, Dickinson said: "Black Lives Matter, equality, justice. You can pick the term. It really doesn't matter. I don't need to sit here and take a stab at all of the issues. Just educate yourself, look into things, watch documentaries, talk to people."

Last Saturday, Minnesota Wild defenseman Dumba became the first NHLer to kneel for the anthem, but he was there in street clothes because his team wasn't playing,

The NHL re-start pregame ceremony last Saturday included Dumba making a passionate speech about the need for equality. He knelt for the playing of the American anthem. He was flanked by fellow black players Darnell Nurse (Edmonton Oilers) and Malcolm Subban (Chicago Blackhawks) who stood for both anthems.

Dumba is now raising his fist as his sign of protest during the pre-game anthems.

Athletes from other sports started kneeling after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began taking a knee during the 2016 NFL season to raise awareness of police brutality and racial and social injustices.

Reaves, Lehner, Seguin, Dickinson and Dumba are Canadians. In these playoffs, 45% of players are Canadian and 27% are American.

Even though Dumba's speech was part of the NHL's restart ceremony and the league has embraced the BlackLivesMatter hashtag as one of its reasons for playing, the NHL has received some criticism, via social media, for not doing enough.

As expected, the four players' decisions to kneel brought a mixed reaction on social media. Some viewed the kneeling players as heroes, while others viewed them as heretics. Some commended the players, while others condemned the action. Some say they will stop watching hockey if this becomes widespread.

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