BOSTON (CBS) — While Bruins fans would have liked to have seen the team try to bounce back in Friday night’s Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, that won’t be happening. Most fans understand why games on Thursday and Friday were postponed, as athletes around the country refused to play and instead used their platform to demand social change following the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Emphasis on most fans. There are some out there who are pretty miffed that players refused to play. They’re called the “stick to sports” crowd, and Bruins forward Brad Marchand has a message for them: “Too bad!”
Marchand respects that everyone is entitled their own opinion, but he is urging folks not to confuse what players are currently demanding with a political movement. Marchand said that boycotting games has nothing to do with politics, and is a matter of equality and human decency.
“That’s one thing that people continually mix up is they bring politics into these situations. That’s not what this is about. We’re not being political,” Marchand said Friday during a video conference in Toronto. “That’s not the goal and not what we’re here for. There needs to be changes made throughout society. It’s bigger than hockey right now, it’s bigger than sports. It’s about people being equal and people being treated the same. It’s about making changes.
“People want to point in different directions and make it about something it’s not. That’s what we want to avoid. We don’t want to make it a political statement, we want to make it about people being better and making changes, getting to the point where we all see each other as equals,” he continued.
Marchand said the break was necessary because the issues that face the country right now are much bigger than sports.
“This is bigger than sports and people need to put that aside. Sports is a luxury; it’s a luxury to watch this game and play this game. But when it becomes about people’s safety and people’s lives, and people feeling comfortable enough to be in their own skin, it’s more important than [sports],” he said. “I understand people want to watch the games and want to see this, but it’s too bad. We have bigger things that we care about and that we want to do, to improve upon, and people we want to support. That’s all that matters.”
The Bruins and teams throughout the NHL will continue to discuss ways to help create change, and Marchand urges everyone else to do the same.
“We all need to learn a lot about what’s happening outside of our own lives. A lot of us, we don’t truly understand what it’s like in other people’s shoes and we need to,” he said. “It’s the only way that things are going to change.”
The Bruins and Lightning will now square off in Game 4 on Saturday afternoon, with Tampa Bay owning a 2-1 series lead.