It is not clear why Capitals goalkeeper Braden Holtby said he "could not find the words to say" about how he felt about the movement in the United States triggered by the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. Because the little essay he presented Wednesday on Twitter sent a clear message about long-standing injustice.
Holtby, a Canadian native who has played for the Capitals since 2010 and took them to the Stanley Cup in 2018, took note of the Woodrow Wilson bridge that stretches between northern Virginia and Prince George & # 39; s county in Maryland, the second largest municipality in the state and one of the richest municipalities in the country whose population is mostly African American.
"Here is a monstrous bridge, named after a racist president," wrote Holtby. “A president who was an outspoken white supremacy. Who segregated federal workers based on race. The bridge sits there, mocking all blacks who need to cross it while reading that name as a reminder of how much pain has been inflicted on their race.
“And yet, the society that inflicted this pain seems to be proud of it. Proud enough to name a bridge in honor of white supremacy.
Holtby plays in a sport with relatively few people of color. Wikipedia lists 30 black players currently active in the NHL out of about 690 on the league's 31 teams. Given that the same list indicates that there were 91 in the league's history, having a third of them playing today seems at least a marginal process. Devante Smith-Pelly, who spent the 2019-20 season playing professionally for a Chinese club in Russia's KHL, lifted the cup with Holtby that same night in June 2018.
However, there are still problems, as there was off the track. Former Flames winger Akim Aliu wrote about his terrible experiences in The Players Tribune.
Holtby was addressing a bigger situation, however, when he continued to address what he sees in everyday society.
"The injustice and hate-infused power that we saw recently is anything but new," wrote Holtby. "To say that improvements have been made is very naive. In today's information and communication era within reach, the change is very small. The amount of inhuman and hate-based racial crimes that have been committed in the centuries of American history is sufficient to make theirs. skin prickles from discomfort and your eyes are full of tears. ”
Holtby acknowledged that he cannot fully understand the experience of being black in America. But he promised to use his voice to support "every black man, woman or child until his shoes weigh the same as mine".
Holtby wrote that he was proud of those who marched in the name of racial justice and that he was not alone in this.
"You are bringing pride to all people who believe in the universal value of a human being. Keep fighting, and I swear to demonstrate and educate what you are fighting for," he wrote. "Not just for me, but for my children, family and anyone else who listens. Because America will never be great until all BLACK's lives matter. "