Shortly after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in connection to the killing of George Floyd, the NHL decided to publicly opine on the verdict. In one terse statement, the NHL revealed that it learned nothing at all from one of the most politically charged years in recent history, showing once again it is more concerned with political theatre rather than pragmatic solutions when it comes to state violence.
"While we hope the end of the trial offers a chance for healing, we remain committed to actively engaging in the movement for equality and we invite our fans to join us in supporting systemic change," the statement read. The league thought its work here was done, or more alarming, that it was showing leadership with its 36-word press release. Even worse is the insinuation that through its actions it was making the sport a safer space for its Black and Indigenous fans.
All the league really had to do to escape criticism Tuesday was to mention George Floyd by name, condemn Derek Chauvin for his murderous actions, and maybe, just maybe, offer a reflection on how policing itself disproportionately targets Black people. This isn't a uniquely American issue. Asking teams and organizations to recognize by Floyd by name is the bare minimum. Asking for the condemnation of a police officer, who can now be officially listed as a murderer without worrying about libel or slander, is the bare minimum.