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NAZEM KADRI SAYS LEAGUE MUST DO MORE TO ADDRESS RACISM

If you've watched any of the exhibition games put on by the NHL this week, you'll know that players on opposing teams have been standing side-by-side for the national anthems at the blue lines. This is the players' way of acknowledging the issues of racism, hatred and social injustice that exist in society, rather than kneeling, which players in many other leagues have chosen to do. This was a decision made by the players, not the league. Colorado's Nazem Kadri - who is of Lebanese decent and was the highest drafted Muslim in NHL history at the time of his selection by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2009 - is happy with what players are doing, but feels the league needs to do more do address those issues.

"The game doesn't happen with racism still going on, so that's an important thing for us to address. As players, we have addressed that," said Kadri during a Zoom conference with media. "From a league standpoint, I think we'd like to see a little more acknowledgement and, you know, having them address the situation and know that they stand with their players."

Kadri is the fourth player of Lebanese descent to play in the NHL, following John Hanna, Alain Nasreddine and Ed Hatoum. He has stated before that he's never had an issue on the ice in the NHL with "trash-talking" regarding his race or his religious beliefs. However, he said in an interview with TSN in June that his days in the Ontario Hockey League were not so kind, explaining he was targeted by players and fans alike.

“My first year in junior, I was stereotyped and basically didn’t feel accepted by certain players or fans of certain teams,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, but I don’t want to go too specific into it.”



While there has been no official announcement either way, it's difficult the imagine that the act of having players stand side-by-side at the bluelines will continue once the playoffs officially get underway. Grinding it out over a seven game series tends to cause some bad blood between opposing teams. Still, the act has been very well received publicly.

TIM TUCKER
JULY 30, 2020  (9H52)
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