BOSTON (CBS) — Wednesday was a truly historic day in the world of sports. Players in the NBA, WNBA, MLB and MLS refused to play in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake, leading to the postponement of games in each of those leagues.
The Milwaukee Bucks were the first team to boycott their game on Wednesday, refusing to take the floor for their 4 p.m. tip against the Orlando Magic in the NBA’s Florida bubble. That created a domino effect — a movement — where other athletes refused to play until their voices were heard.
The NHL, though, went ahead as scheduled. That included the Boston Bruins, who fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of their second-round playoff series. Following the loss, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara were asked about playing while other league’s postponed games, and where they stand on the social unrest throughout the country.
“Obviously we stand against any type of racism,” said Bergeron. “My stance and our stance doesn’t change against any form of injustice. I made a statement earlier, a few months ago. Z did as well. I stand behind my statement. I want to be part of the solution. Obviously there needs to be change. That’s where I’m at. It’s about human rights, and that’s it. That’s all I have to say for that.”
“Definitely we support NBA players, and all the leagues that show their support,” said Chara. “Obviously it was so close to our game that we were just getting ready. But I’ll pretty much say what Patrice said: We support the fight against racism and injustice. There’s different ways to express that fight. Obviously NBA players expressed their opinions by boycotting the games today. We support it.”
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) August 27, 2020
Asked if they had any discussions about not playing Wednesday night after the NBA had canceled its games, Chara said it was too close to game time to properly make such a decision.
“No. Like I said, it was so close to our game. After our pregame meal, we took naps and then we were on the bus, so I don’t think any of us was watching TV until we got to the rink,” he explained. “At that point it was obviously too close to the game to start any discussions or trying to change and move the games to different dates. We had the afternoon game and we were just basically following the schedule the NHL provided to us.”
Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy said that he would have supported his players with whatever decision they made.
“A hundred percent behind them,” said Cassidy.
The NBA Board of Governors is having a meeting on Thursday morning, with the possibility that they could cancel the rest of the playoffs. At some point, the NHL may have to make a similar decision.