Lightning captain Steven Stamkos spoke up on Twitter Tuesday about George Floyd, the black man killed in Minneapolis police custody, and the resulting protests.
If he remains silent, Stamkos wondered, is he part of the problem?
The Lightning issued a brief statement on Twitter, and forward Pat Maroon shared his thoughts, as well.
Forward Alex Killorn posted to Instagram as part of the #BlackoutTuesday initiative. People post a black box to their accounts, marking a muting of themselves to take the time to learn more about how they can help the Black Lives Matter movement.
The NHL posted the same on Twitter.
Stamkos wrote that he has “nothing but compassion and respect” for the peaceful protests and doesn’t approve of the looting and riots.
“But, as many of YOU have opened my eyes to, I see that these actions may be coming from real pain and suffering,” Stamkos wrote. “I can at least try to comprehend that.”
He went on to say that he can never truly “feel the pain and suffering that all men and women of color feel,” but that he would educate himself on racism.
Maroon expressed his respect for law enforcement and wrote that he is heartbroken watching cities he loves burn.
“But more so, I’m angry at the injustice of George Floyd and the other fallen men and women whose lives were taken too soon,” he wrote.
Maroon wrote that he needs to set an example and will teach his son to use his voice and do the same.
“I’m sorry and I promise to do better for you,” he finished.
The Lightning tweeted that the organization does “not condone racism or social injustice of any kind." The team aims to "support all of our fellow citizens and bridge the gaps that exist between us with love, hope and faith.
NHL players started speaking out more over the weekend.
San Jose’s Evander Kane, a black Canadian, has been outspoken on Twitter and traditional media. He appeared on ESPN’s First Take and called for “strength in numbers,” in an interview with The Athletic.
Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph, another black Canadian, spoke up on Sunday, asking what concrete steps can be taken to move forward.
Steven Stamkos’ full statement
"I have watched, I have listened and now I am ready to speak. Since the senseless killing of George Floyd, I have had a hard time trying to articulate a way of expressing how I truly feel. Am I scared? Do I feel a sense of guilt being a white man? Am I part of the problem if I remain silent?
"I have watched and listened to the peaceful gatherings of people in protest and I have nothing but compassion and respect for that. I have also watched the looting and the riots. I certainly don’t approve of those actions, but as many of YOU have opened my eyes to, I see that these actions may be coming from real pain and suffering. I can at least try to comprehend that.
"I will never be able to truly feel the pain and suffering that all men and women of color feel, but I will continue to further educate myself on the real issue of racism, so I can help my community, my friends, my family and my son, much like my parents did for me. I encourage people to speak out on this issue. One voice can make a difference, and I hope this can help you find yours, much like my community and peers helped me find mine.
"I know that we don’t have all the answers right now, but I believe we can come together and continue this fight for a change and a better tomorrow.
"Love to ALL,
Pat Maroon’s full statement
“I have been having a difficult time to find the words on my feelings. I’m not the best putting it to paper but I’m going to do my best. I respect the good men and women of law enforcement that use their authority the right way to protect all of our citizens. I will continue to support you. I’m also heartbroken seeing cities that I love burning including my hometown, but more so, I’m angry at the injustice of George Floyd and other fallen men and women whose lives were taken too soon. I’ll truly never understand the years and years of struggle and fear that men and women have carried with them all because of the color of their skin. All I can do is use my voice to speak for you, to defend you, to listen, to understand and to continue learning. Most importantly I will teach my son, so he can be a voice for his neighbors and friends. I need to set the example. We need to be the voices for those who are unheard and fight for what’s right. I don’t have the answers, but together I believe we can find them. I’m sorry, and I promise to do better for you.”