Holtby: 'America will never be great until all black lives matter'
Braden Holtby strongly condemned anti-black racism in a powerful message Wednesday.
The Washington Capitals goaltender opened his statement on Twitter by pointing out that a local landmark, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, is named after a former U.S. president who enacted racist policies.
Holtby referred to the bridge as "monstrous" and called Wilson "an outspoken white supremacist."
"The bridge sits there mocking every black person who has to travel across it while reading that name as a reminder of how much pain has been inflicted on their race," he wrote.
Holtby then denounced systemic racism and racial injustice as a whole.
"The injustice and hatred-infused power we've seen recently is anything but new," he wrote. "To say there have been improvements is very naive. In today's age of information and communication at our fingertips, the change is far too minimal.
"The amount of inhumane, hate-based, racial crimes that have been committed in the centuries of American history is enough to make your skin crawl in discomfort and your eyes well with tears. Yet it's still happening. In 2020. It should never happen. Yet it still is."
The Capitals netminder also offered words of encouragement for protesters and closed by rejecting U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign slogan while affirming his own support for the black community.
"For everyone standing up and marching for what is right, your voices are not going unheard," Holtby wrote. "You're bringing pride to every person who believes in the universal value of a human being. Keep fighting, and I vow to demonstrate and educate what you are fighting for. Not only to myself but my children, family, and anyone else who will listen. Because America will never be great until all BLACK lives matter."
Holtby is Canadian but has spent his entire 10-year career with the Capitals. He declined an invitation to the White House last year, saying, "I've got to stay true to my values."
Numerous players and teams have issued statements over the past week following the killing of George Floyd. Floyd, a black man from Minneapolis, died in police custody after Derek Chauvin, a white officer, kneeled on his neck for over eight minutes while holding Floyd in handcuffs on the ground.
Floyd's death has sparked protests across the United States.