Matt Dumba is the first NHL player to kneel during the US National Anthem

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The Minnesota Wild defenseman knelt in Saturday’s game between the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks while wearing a Hockey Diversity Alliance hoodie with “Black Lives Matter” on the sleeves. Dumba, who is Canadian, represented the Canadian anthem.

“For those who are unaffected by systemic racism, or are not aware of it, I’m sure some of you think this topic has garnered too much attention in the past couple of months. But let me assure you that’s not the case, ”Dumba said before kneeling down. . “Racism is everywhere – and we must fight it”.

While Dumba is not on any of the teams that played on Saturday, he is part of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, an organization formed in June and made up of seven former and current NHL players. The organization’s mission is “to eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey,” according to the NHL.

“I know firsthand, as a minority player of the great game of hockey, the inexplicable and difficult challenges that come with it,” Dumba said on Saturday.

He added that he hopes his actions and those of the HDA will inspire a new generation of hockey players and fans.

“Black Lives Matter. Breonna Taylor’s life matters, ”said Dumba. “Hockey is a great game, but it could be a lot better and that starts with all of us. ”

Dumba joins a long list of athletes, including LeBron James, Tiger Woods and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, speaking out against police brutality and the struggle for the lives of black people.

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