Activism shouldn’t be pushed on NHL players, says PK Subban
PK Subban wore many hats – both figuratively and literally – during his NHL career.
Beyond his All-Star caliber play on the ice, Subban was a philanthropist, he was a fashion icon, and of course an activist.
This, in part, makes the 33-year-old’s stance on the recent inflection point of the Pride jerseys in the NHL somewhat puzzling.
“We cannot force everyone to become activists, we need to be very careful,” Subban told Reuters on Friday.
“I think people pick and choose what they want to talk about and I don’t like it when we put pressure on athletes to be active.”
The former Norris Trophy winner turned ESPN analyst said that while he felt comfortable speaking his mind, it was not right to expect other NHLers to do the same to support the LGBTQ+ community.
PK Subban has been a philanthropist and activist throughout his NHL career and beyond. (AP Photo/Michael Dyer)
“They don’t have to be active. I’m not saying wearing the (Pride) jersey is right or wrong, we just have to be very careful how we motivate players to do things,” he added. “You can support the LGBTQ community without wearing a hat, t-shirt or jersey.”
Speaking as an ambassador for the Craft Hockeyville program, which announced its winner on Saturday night, Subban reportedly debunked the notion that minority and marginalized NHLers should wear Pride jerseys at warm-ups. May decline to support the Pride Knight initiative, including making a donation.
Specifically, the Hockeyville program says it aims to “make the sport more accessible and inclusive to all,” a statement that is the exact opposite of Subban’s words.
According to Reuters, Subban continued to deflect blame elsewhere, specifically towards the media covering the Pride Night boycott.
“Those who write articles, those who push certain narratives in the media should be held accountable,” Subban said. “We have to be very careful about the way we look at a moment. There are a number of players in the league who have started programs – why isn’t the media talking about this?”
Subban, for his part, speaks from a place of experience on the matter. One of the most outspoken players of his era, Subban continually gave back to his communities during his time in Montreal, Nashville and New Jersey.
Most famously, after signing an 8-year, $72 million contract in 2014, Subban generously donated $10 million to the Montreal Children’s Hospital, earning praise in the hockey community.