Just when it looked like the NBA was on track to play out the remainder of the suspended season that served as the catalyst for the wild 24-hour period that saw the world of sports come to a sudden standstill back in March, the year found itself in jeopardy yet again when a number of players voiced their concerns with heading into the bubble while people around the United States were flocking to the streets to call attention to racial inequality in the wake of the high-profile incidents of police brutality that sparked a wave of protests back in June.
Teams eventually agreed to make the trek to Orlando after the league promised it would take steps to help raise awareness for the issues in question, and after proving the secure environment it constructed at Walt Disney World Resorts was as safe in practice as it promised to be in theory, it looked like it was actually going to be able to salvage the season until it was derailed yet again on Wednesday when every team decided to boycott the playoff games that were scheduled to call attention to the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Other leagues quickly followed suit, as the WNBA also called off its entire slate of games and some MLB teams and the majority of MLS squads decided to boycott as well. However, the two Stanley Cup Playoff games scheduled for last night went on as planned, with the NHL opting to use a “moment of reflection” before the contest between the Bruins and the Lightning in an attempt to show some sort of solidarity.
Here was the NHL's "moment of reflection" prior to Bruins-Lightning. pic.twitter.com/LhzTJ1OxRl
— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) August 27, 2020
That laughably half-assed measured didn’t go over well with a lot of people who thought the league should’ve taken the decidedly more drastic approach that was demonstrated by others. There were plenty of fans who argued the NHL was in a unique position when you consider the number of Canadian teams that make up a league where almost 75% of the players hail from outside the United States, but it’s also not a great look for an organization with a reputation for being blindingly white and less than welcoming to players of color.
Back in June, Evander Kane teamed up with a number of current and former NHLers to create the Hockey Diversity Alliance and he was not shy about sharing his displeasure with how the league handled things on Wednesday—a sentiment reflected by Wild defenseman Matt Dumba.
— Evander Kane (@evanderkane_9) August 27, 2020
— Matt Dumba (@matt_dumba) August 26, 2020
On Thursday, the two men held a call with other players who were scheduled to take to the ice in Edmonton and Toronto tonight and the HDA issued a statement urging the NHL to call off the games.
Our response to the NHL’s response to the radical injustice and violence. pic.twitter.com/c9vfcwOJ7t
— Hockey Diversity Alliance (@TheOfficialHDA) August 27, 2020
It turns out the league will be doing exactly that, as multiple sources confirmed they began to inform teams that all of the contests have been postponed.
Breaking: The NHL will not play any playoff games Thursday in solidarity with other leagues protesting the recent police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, sources confirm to @emilymkaplan. pic.twitter.com/WKESkdHAuI
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 27, 2020
No games tonight in the NHL. Players and now team staff/mgmt are being informed of the same.
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) August 27, 2020
This is absolutely the right call to make, and while it probably came around 24 hours too late, something is certainly better than the almost nothing the NHL opted to go with on Wednesday. Now, we’ll just have to wait and see what else it’ll do going forward.