Every Sunday at Peng to the Point, we talk about the world away from the San Jose Sharks.
Brad Marchand was wrong.
Let’s rewind — last Tuesday, the Boston Bruins Twitter issued this statement from Bruins players:
A statement from the Boston Bruins players: pic.twitter.com/Ge10yy8y7q
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) July 28, 2020
Shortly thereafter, Tuukka Rask appeared on NBCSN, wearing a Boston Police cap.
This juxtaposition caught Boston Globe reporter Matt Porter’s attention:
And there is this: pic.twitter.com/IKGS9y6sRc
— Matt Porter (@mattyports) July 28, 2020
Brad Marchand responded in a swiftly deleted tweet:
The next day, however, Marchand didn’t back down in his media availability:
“The reason I deleted my tweet was not because I regretted tweeting it. It was because I didn’t want to bring any attention to [Porter].
“Tuuks was given a hat by a friend that he wore in an interview prior to the statement being released. That’s OK for him to support a friend and wear a hat.
“It doesn’t change the fact that we all stand united against trying to end racism and being part of that solution. And Tuuks is part of that. He’s onboard, as are all of us.
“What Matt did was he tried to create a buzz that would affect himself positively, and get more followers, get more attention, get more likes when it’s hurting what we’re trying to move forward with.”
My thoughts: I get Marchand standing up for his teammate.
I get that Rask, according to Marchard, was supporting a friend. Rask, I imagine, has had more positive experiences with the police than many others.
What I don’t get is Marchand singling out a reporter who was doing his job and pointing out the stark incongruity of the players’ statement and Rask’s statement.
It’s ill-timed, at best, to wear a Boston Police hat on the same day that Bruins players issued a statement claiming “we have been trying to educate ourselves and learn about racial injustice in our country and around the world.” If you’ve spent one honest minute trying to educate yourself about racial injustice, that should be fairly obvious.
And make no mistake, Rask, even if he says he wasn’t, was making a statement.
Even if Rask wore the cap before the Bruins’ tweet — in this current climate, wearing police paraphernalia during a televised interview is a statement.
Even if the statement was ultimately that Rask, contradicting his own teammates’ claims, hadn’t actually bothered to educate himself about racial injustice. That wouldn’t be surprising, right? That the Bruins players’ statement, attributed to them, wasn’t actually conceived by them, but instead, was corporate virtue signaling.
Ignorance, after all, is a statement too. Letting other people talk for you is a statement too.
Back to Marchand: For what it’s worth, I believe it’s possible, as he stated, to “stand united against trying to end racism” while wearing a Boston Police cap. We can certainly recognize that there are individual police officers who are good people. If that were Rask’s statement, we can have a civil conversation around that statement. If Rask wished to own another statement, we can have a civil conversation around that too.
But let’s have that conversation, instead of laying into a reporter who simply pointed out the obvious.
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