Sharks forward Evander Kane on Friday called on high profile athletes, especially white superstars in the NHL and other team sports, to speak out about the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this week and other racial injustices that have happened in the past.
"We need so many more athletes that don't look like me speaking out about this, having the same amount of outrage that I have inside, and using that to voice their opinion, to voice their frustration. Because that's the only way it's going to change," Kane said on "First Take" on ESPN.
"We've been outraged for hundreds of years, and nothing has changed. It's time for guys like (NFL quarterback) Tom Brady and (NHL star) Sidney Crosby and those type of figures to speak up about what is right and clearly in this case, what is unbelievably wrong. That's the only way we're going to actually create that unified anger to create that necessary change, especially when you talk about systematic racism."
Kane, 28, has been vocal with his disgust about the manner of Floyd's death. On Monday, a video emerged of a white former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on the neck of Floyd, who pleaded aloud that he could not breathe. Three other officers were on the scene.
"This makes my blood boil! All four "officers" need to be jailed for life and it still wouldn't be enough," Kane tweeted Tuesday. "The video is all anyone needs to see."
Friday afternoon, Chauvin, 44, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the case, not first-degree murder as Floyd's family had expected. No charges have so far been brought on the three other officers, although Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said more charges were possible.
Reacting to the lesser charge on Chauvin, Kane tweeted, "Systemic Racism at its finest."
"You have (Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey) coming on and talking about how these police officers murdered an innocent black man, and then you have (Freeman) come on and talk about how, 'Well, we need to wait until we see all the evidence, there's actually evidence that proves that this was not a crime. And that's baffling to me," Kane said.
"All you have to do is watch the tape. Common sense gets pushed down the totem pole so much when we have these police-involved incidents, specifically with black men."
Friday afternoon, Sharks majority owner Hasso Plattner expressed his support for Kane, saying in a statement on the team's Twitter account that, "There is no room for racism in society. We applaud Evander for his rational and thoughtful response to this recent terrible tragedy. Events like this occur way too often. We all must find a way to do better."