Reaves putting Kane feud aside, joining him for 'much bigger cause'
Ryan Reaves says the ongoing fight against racial injustice is far more important than his rivalry with Evander Kane.
“I spoke to Evander and told him I want to jump in on this powerful message,” Reaves told the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Ed Graney. “We have to put aside our differences on the ice and come together for a much bigger cause."
The Vegas Golden Knights grinder and the San Jose Sharks star have frequently exchanged barbs - both on and off the ice - since facing off in a heated playoff series last spring.
Kane is among the most vocal black voices in hockey, and after George Floyd's death, he called on white athletes to speak up. The Sharks forward is a co-head of the newly formed Hockey Diversity Alliance, a group of black current and former NHLers seeking to eradicate racism from the game.
Reaves, who's also black, has ties to the police. The 33-year-old's father, Willard, served as a sargeant with the Manitoba Sheriff Services in Winnipeg following a five-year CFL career and a brief stint in the NFL. His great-great-great-grandfather was the legendary Bass Reeves, the first black deputy U.S. marshal west of the Mississippi River who some believe was the inspiration for "The Lone Ranger."
The movement to abolish or defund the police has gained significant steam since worldwide protests erupted following Floyd's death in police custody in late May. Reaves doesn't believe every current officer is corrupt, but he says we can't allow those who are to influence others.
“A lot of it stems from under-trained ignorance that every police force seems to have some - one, two, three, four cops - whatever the number is," the Golden Knights winger said. "The thing is not to let those bad apples trickle through an entire force.”
Numerous NHL players - including many of the league's white stars - have made their feelings about racism known over the last two weeks, and most of them did so after Kane's plea. Reaves has been pleased to see that response, particularly given the racial disparity that exists in the game.
“In hockey, it’s a predominantly white sport, so for a bunch of white hockey players to come out and speak about black issues, it’s probably tough for them," he said. "It’s not an easy subject to talk about, but I like how a lot of players are going about it."
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