Most hockey TV shows are usually not a must watch. But when it comes to improving the sport and working to eliminate racism in the game, they matter.
Campaign ads from The Hockey Diversity Alliance and Budweiser launched their #TapeOutHate campaign to confront racism against so many in the race we all love. The video shows HDA members such as Wayne Simmonds, Matt Dumba, Nazem Kadri, Anthony Duclair and Akim Aliu discussing their experiences dealing with racism at the game.
Both HDA and Budweiser deserve credit for not sugarcoating any of this. While the ad on TV was censored, there was an uncensored ad online that contained strong language. The uncensored version shows you how much players of color have gone through in the sport.
If seeing the experiences of so many of these players and other people of color in the sport — myself included — makes you want to end racism, then ads are at work.
Here’s the reality: If you’re not white and you play hockey, at some point, slurs are going to be thrown at you, no matter the level. In hockey, racism is buried or played like a fool for too long, and players are told to ignore it. Facing it head on is something more and more people need to do in the sport.
This is an ad that is currently being celebrated, where people from all walks of life come together to share their thoughts. It’s one thing for the founders to start the movement, but it’s another when allies use their platforms to amplify it and want to support it. Now is not the time for such a movement to take place on an island supported by only a handful of people.
The Toronto Maple Leafs shared their support for Symonds on Saturday, with the Minnesota Wilds players putting HDA tape on their blades. Hopefully we can get to a point where players from all 32 teams in the NHL and across the leagues are using the tapes and showing their support.
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the HDA, but it’s great to see them continue to work hard to make the sport a better place for all.