BOSTON (CBS) — Patrice Bergeron is regarded as a true leader, both within the Boston Bruins’ locker room and around the entire NHL. That leadership most often involves Bergeron setting an example with his actions rather than his words.

In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, though, the 34-year-old is changing course.

Bergeron released a statement (by way of the Bruins’ social media channels) on Wednesday in which he said he felt compelled to speak out.

“As many of you know, I don’t have social media. Right or wrong I’ve often tried to stay away from making my opinions public,” Bergeron said. “As hockey players, we have a tendency to do our business while staying quiet, without wanting to make too much noise. It is in our culture. But surrounding the murder of George Floyd and the protests that followed, it made me realize that by not speaking up on the matter, and not using my voice as a professional athlete, it’s in fact allowing racism to fester and continue. Silence is not an option for me anymore.”

Bergeron and his family donated $25,000 to the Boston chapter of the NAACP, plus another $25,000 to Centre Multiethnique in his native Quebec.

“I realize that I will never truly understand the fear, pain and suffering the black community has endured. As a white man I have always tried to live by respect and equality, but I also acknowledge my privileges. I am disappointed in myself that it took this long for me to truly open my eyes. Seeing all this pain truly breaks my heart and forces me to seek answers,” Bergeron said. “Today and going forward I want to listen, educated myself and stand up for the black community. We cannot change the past, but we certainly can change the future. It is time to truly acknowledge this cry for help.”

Bergeron concluded his message: “It needs to be more than a simple Instagram post. Let’s take real actions. With an open heart and compassion, I am determined to be an ally, continue to grow myself, and raise my children to be anti-racist. … I will not be quiet anymore.”

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