Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler is the latest player to speak out against racism. The Minnesota-born forward took to Twitter Saturday night to speak out against the death of George Floyd in his home state.
"I've wanted to say something for a while, but it's been really difficult knowing what to say. My hometown is burning. Businesses where I grew up are being boarded up. America is not Ok," Wheeler said. "Growing outside of Minneapolis I always felt sheltered from racism. That's because I was. Most people I grew up with looked like me. I never had to be scared when I stopped at a traffic light or saw the police in public. My kids will never know that feat either.
"I'm heartbroken that we still treat people this way. We need to stand with the black community and fundamentally change how the leadership in this country has dealt with racism. I'm sorry it has taken this long, but I'm hopeful that we can change this NOW. George Floyd's life mattered. Ahmaud Arbery's life mattered. So did every other life that has been lost by this senseless violence and racism."
Wheeler's comments followed San Jose Sharks star Logan Couture's twitter post about racism in hockey earlier in the day.
"Racism exists in society, it also exists in hockey," Couture said in his post. "That's a fact. Growing up in this game is a privilege. At times I think most of us have been at fault for turning a blind eye when it comes to racism. It cannot continue. I've had the opportunity to play with some incredible teammates. Black, white, all colours. Getting to listen to them talk about things they have gone through in hockey/life is eye opening.
"As a society and as hockey players we are only scraping the surface in fixing what desperately needs fixing. Thanks to Akim [Aliu] and Evander for speaking so loudly about this issue. We all need to learn, we need to love each other regardless of skin colour."
Floyd's death has sparked days of protests across North America.