"RIP George Floyd. So sad to see (what's) happening everywhere and (in) DC," Ovechkin said Monday on Twitter. "It is so important for us to respect and love each other no matter what we look like! We need (to) listen and do change ... please stay safe ... take care (of) each other and family."
Protests against police brutality and racial injustice began across North America following Floyd's death Monday while he was in the custody of Minneapolis police. Derek Chauvin, the now-former police officer who pinned Floyd's neck with his knee for over eight minutes while he was handcuffed on the ground, was fired and has since been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane, who is part of the small minority of black NHL players, challenged high-profile athletes to use their platform to denounce racism.
Since then, several NHL players, including Blake Wheeler, Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Toews, John Tavares, and Kane's teammate Logan Couture have spoken out against racial injustices. Kane said Monday that it's "a small step in the right direction" to see white NHL players taking a stance against racism.