John Tavares speaks out against racism in hockey following incidents involving Imama, Subban

Published January 25, 2022 at 3:57 PM
BY COLE HAYES
It was pretty much buried in yesterday's news cycle, but Leafs captain John Tavares opened his media availability by speaking about the recent acts of racism in hockey. Tavares said the following in regards to the incidents where inappropriate gestures were made during games in the ECHL and the AHL:

"I thinks it's really important to acknowledge the recognition and steps that have been taken over the last little while to improve in eliminating racism in our game. But obviously, we have a lot of work to do with learning and discussion and how we continue to apply that and make a difference. Just continue to make our game better and more inclusive. So I just thought it was important to acknowledge that today, something we addressed as a team as well."

These comments come after just days after minor league players, Boko Imama and Jordan Subban were victims of racism during games over the last week. Many players of colour have spoken out against these issues in hockey but very few caucasian players have come forward to address the issue openly.

Getting uncomfortable and having discussions on these types of incidents and what can be done to minimize them in hockey are fundamental to improving the culture of the sport. The NHL and the NHLPA need to have these important conversations and implement systems that protect players of colour from becoming the targets of racism.


It's also worth sharing that Tavares brought this up before his press conference without being asked by media. It definitely speaks to JT's commitment to his leadership role to have these uncomfortable conversations out in the open, even if these acts of racism aren't something that he experiences himself. Players could learn from Tavares in that respect, and it would be nice to see others come forward to address the issue publicly.

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