New York Rangers prospect K’Andre Miller addressed the racist treatment he received while being introduced to the team’s fans in April, saying it was another example of his challenge to be accepted as a black hockey player.
“I struggle because I’ve never been fully accepted by either the black community or the white community,” Miller wrote in a tweeted statement Monday. “I struggle because for years I have been one of the only people of color on my hockey teams. I have been targeted because of my race when I was in youth hockey by some coaches, parents and players, but I refused to give up because of my love for the game.”
Miller, 20, took part in a video Q&A on Zoom in April to serve as an introduction to Rangers fans. With about 150 fans streaming the chat, the comments section for questions was overrun with the N-word being published over and over again, under different usernames, before the comments were turned off.
Videos of the incident circulated on social media, and the Rangers and the NHL put out statements condemning the act.
“I’ve struggled for months to find the words to express my frustration and anger over the Zoom conference call incident when I was to be introduced after signing my NHL contract,” Miller wrote. “It’s something that I won’t ever forget.”
Miller said he waited to discuss what had happened because of the coronavirus pandemic, writing, “it seemed like there were so many other priorities in the world, that it wasn’t my place to speak out.”
Miller also discussed the death of George Floyd and the ensuing nationwide protests, expressing concern for citizens of color and showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
He closed his message by saying how he felt to be drafted by the Rangers and his hope that the feeling can be shared by everyone.
“You can only imagine how it felt to have an organization like the New York Rangers draft me, the hockey player,” Miller wrote. “For that one moment in time I didn’t have to be defined by the color of my skin but rather on my hockey skills, athletic ability and character. This is how it should be all the time. It’s time for action, time for change and once and for all, it’s time to let black people be judged based on who we are not what we look like.”