NHL players are making a statement. On Monday, August 3, a number of NHL players took a knee during the American and Canadian national anthems. The players have since explained their action was in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The kneeling took place before Monday's game between the Dallas Stars and the Vegas Golden Knights. The game took place at the Rogers Place in Edmonton.
Two players from each of the above teams knelt during both the anthems: Ryan Reaves and Robin Lehner from the Vegas team, and Jason Dickinson and Tyler Seguin from the Dallas side.
The players reportedly made the kneeling decision during the warm-ups ahead of Monday's game.
Dallas star Seguin said, as reported by NHL, that he heard from Reeves on the ice that he and Lehner were going to be kneeling during the anthems and asked whether he'd like to join the two.
"I said, "Absolutely," said Seguin. "Before the game, I went in the dressing room and told everyone what I was doing. Told them there was no pressure to do anything. Dickinson grabbed me and said he'd like to be a part of it and support his beliefs and my beliefs," he said.
Players of the @DallasStars and @GoldenKnights kneel during the National Anthems. #WeSkateFor Equality https://t.co/rrgAi1pPyQ— NHL (@NHL) 1596495510.0
He added, "it was kind of a no-brainer for me," when he heard that his teammate was going to be kneeling.
Seguin echoed his teammate's thoughts and said that racial inequality is a "big issue" that needs to be addressed, though he doesn't know if they're going to be kneeling before every game.
We are united in the fight for racial equality. We support our players and all those who peacefully seek to inspi… https://t.co/oOTqAGYPY4— x-Vegas Golden Knights (@x-Vegas Golden Knights) 1596494559.0
We are united. #WeSkateFor Equality https://t.co/7gtGgxWPsm— Dallas Stars (@Dallas Stars) 1596495694.0
Meanwhile, Ryan Reeves, who is Black, explained his decision by saying that he feels "this country isn't free for everybody."
The Dallas publication also reported that these four players became the first ever to kneel for the Canadian anthem in addition to the American one.
Both the NHL and the respective teams have voiced their support while posting photos of the players kneeling on ice before the game.
Ryan Reaves (@reavo7five) is clear about the meaning of his protest. #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/s6sjpUFxIU— NHL (@NHL) 1596553505.0
Tyler Seguin (@tseguinofficial) on why he and Jason Dickinson chose to make a statement during the national anthem.… https://t.co/otu8STcle8— NHL (@NHL) 1596557104.0
Forbes reported that Minnesota Wild player Matt Dumba was the first-ever NHL player to kneel during an anthem at an NHL game.
He did so on Saturday, August 1 right before a game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Chicago Blackhawks.
Though Dumba did not kneel for the Canadian anthem, as revealed on Sportsnet, the players from Dallas and Vegas took the knee for both anthems.