Today, the New York Rangers finally issued a statement speaking out against hate in context to the now worldwide protests against police violence and systemic racism that were sparked by the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. When the Ottawa Senators posted a statement on social media on June 5, the Rangers were the only team in the NHL to stay silent.
The rest of the NHL’s teams, including the Seattle franchise, made statements on or before June 2. However, the Rangers did participate in #BlackoutTuesday on Instagram on June 2 by posting a black square accompanied by the corresponding hashtag. Unsurprisingly, the New York Knicks’ statement is identical to the Rangers’. Both teams are owned by James Dolan under the umbrella of the Madison Square Garden Company. Prior to today, the Knicks were the only team in the NBA to remain silent on current events.
MSG’s passionless statement makes no reference to Floyd, the protests, police violence and brutality, or the Black Lives Matter movement.
Every one of us has a role to play in creating a more just and equal society, where there is no racism, bigotry, violence or hate. We stand with all who act for positive change.
Dolan has faced a tremendous amount of criticism for staying silent while some other professional sports teams chose to use their platforms to acknowledge systemic racism and call for justice. Today’s statement from the Rangers and Knicks comes eight days after ESPN’s Pablo S. Torre shared Dolan’s email to MSG employees where he attempted to defend the company’s silence.
Of course, the Rangers’ statement isn’t alone in its impassive tone, but the time of its arrival leaves even more to be desired.