Matt Dumba is no longer alone.
On Monday night, Ryan Reaves, Jason Dickinson, Tyler Seguin, and Robin Lehner kneeled during the national anthems to protest racial inequality and police brutality before the start of the Vegas Golden Knights-Dallas Stars game.
They kneeled for both anthems.
Kneeling for the Canadian National Anthem too. pic.twitter.com/Z7JKnjpH1B
— Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) August 3, 2020
After the game, Tyler Seguin explained how the protest came about.
“I was giving it a lot of thought the last 24 hours what to do and then talked to Reaves in warmups,” Seguin said according to NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti. “He said he’s been kind of seeing what I was doing in Dallas and he said that him and Lehner might kneel and if I’d like to join him, and I said, ‘Absolutely.’ So I joined them and before the game I went in the dressing room and just told everyone what I was doing. I obviously told everyone there’s absolutely no pressure to do anything and Dickinson grabbed me and said he’d like to be a part of it to support his beliefs and my beliefs to support me as a teammate.”
The players were supporting “Black Lives Matter, equality, justice,” Dickinson said according to The Dallas News’ Matthew DeFranks. “You can pick the term, it doesn’t really matter.”
“I just want to say that in no way was I trying to disrespect the flag or our people that have fought for this country,” Reaves explained as reported by ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski. “I have the utmost respect for everyone that has fought and died for the freedom of this country. That’s not the message I’m trying to send. But at the same time, those people goes across seas, go to war, and families are torn apart in these wars for the freedom of this country, only to find out that this country isn’t free for everybody. That’s where I’m coming from. Not everyone is truly free in this country.”
The most surprising participant was goaltender Robin Lehner who once showed support to President Trump on his goalie mask in 2017.
“I did the mistake once and put the Trump sticker on my mask,” Lehner said. “It’s something I regret now, seeing how divisive things have been. But at the end of the day, this is not about politics. This is about human rights. Everyone should have the same chance in society. Everyone should be treated the same. At the end of the day, I love America. But there are a bunch of things that need to be corrected, and it’s just about willingness to do something about it. I think it’s time for whites to step into the battle with our brothers and sisters and make some change. Stop just talking about it and do something.”
The gesture comes several days after Reaves told media that he wanted to kneel as a team, but didn’t want to make his teammates uncomfortable.
“It was discussed. You know, I think we wanted to do something as a team,” Reaves said. “For a lot of guys, kneeling isn’t the way they would want to show support. If we wanted to do something as a team, my big thing was I didn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable.
“I know that if I said I wanted everybody to kneel, somebody, at least one guy was going to feel uncomfortable,” he added. “I didn’t want that.”
Before the players took a knee, Dumba, a defenseman for the Minnesota Wild, was the only NHL player who had the courage to do so and did it after making a speech before the nationally broadcast Chicago Blackhawks-Edmonton Oilers game. The next night, Dumba, not in the starting lineup, raised his fist in protest from the Minnesota Wild bench.
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