Red Wings Dylan Larkin, Sam Gagner issue statements against racism, oppression

DETROIT – More and more professional athletes have been taking to social media to express their support for Black Lives Matter while protests against police brutality erupt across the United States.

For the NHL, a league with an overwhelming majority of white athletes, the issue is as important as ever, especially after a season filled with criticism about racism in hockey.

Many black hockey players, such as Evander Kane of the San Jose Sharks, have been quick to speak out. Kane has called on white athletes to speak up on race issues. Some of his colleagues have been listening closely, and some of them have issued more impactful statements than others.

Read: Chicago Blackhawks captain Toews issues strong statement on racism, pain, hate

The Detroit Red Wings issued a team statement this week.

“We stand for equality, justice and respect for all. We believe in diversity and inclusion, and condemn hatred, racism, prejudice and violence. Working together we can drive meaningful, lasting, positive change,” the statement reads.

On Wednesday, the Red Wings shared statements from players Dylan Larkin and Sam Gagne:

Larkin is likely just weeks away from being named Red Wings captain -- they’ve been without one since Henrik Zetterberg’s retirement in 2018. His words should resonate for the team, and perhaps throughout the league and sport that has faced a lack-of-diversity issue for decades. At least, that’s the hope.

Gagner, meanwhile, just joined the Red Wings this winter through a trade that sent Andreas Athanasiou to Edmonton. The 30-year-old forward is a former first-round pick who has gained a lot of respect around the league.

Related: Red Wings’ historically bad season officially cut short -- here’s what’s next