Evander Kane is pleased with what he's seen so far from a growing number of prominent white figures in the NHL after he called upon them to speak out against racial injustice and anti-black racism in the wake of George Floyd's death.
"For me, it's been … it's been a good step. A small step in the right direction," the San Jose Sharks forward told The Athletic's Ryan S. Clark on Sunday. "It was great to see not only from white players in the league but our owner, Hasso Plattner, being the first on that front with his own words and not just issuing a general statement on behalf of the organization. That was awesome to see from him. It shows the type of character he has and the type of character we have in this organization.
"I am a believer in things starting at the top, and it does not get any higher at the top than with ownership. It was great he was taking the lead on these type of things."
Several white players, including Kane's teammate Logan Couture, Blake Wheeler, Anze Kopitar, Kyle Turris, Brian Boyle, and Connor Carrick posted messages denouncing racism and calling for change after Kane said Friday that more white sports figures needed to do so.
Kane wasn't entirely satisfied with the responses - or, in some cases, the lack thereof - from the sports world as a whole. He pointed to the fact that the NBA's Toronto Raptors addressed racism as an organization Saturday night, but the Maple Leafs, who have the same ownership group, had not yet done so. The franchise released its own statement after Kane spoke to Clark on Sunday evening.
"People might say, 'You're nitpicking' and, 'You're looking for something that is not there,' that it's bullshit," the Sharks forward said. "It does not come off that way to me or to us. It speaks to the culture of hockey at the highest level and the people in positions who are at the highest level."
A multitude of sports leagues and teams - including the NHL and many of its clubs - have condemned racism over the last few days. Floyd, a black man, died Monday after a white police officer in Minneapolis kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The incident was captured on video and has led to protests across the United States.