Rangers’ K’Andre Miller speaks out after being target of racist Zoom hack
The death of George Floyd sparked Rangers prospect K’Andre Miller to speak out Monday for the first time about being the target of hundreds of racial slurs while conducting an online Q&A with fans after signing his NHL contract.
“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,” the 20-year-old black defenseman wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. “It’s something that I won’t ever forget.”
Miller waited to address the April chat hacking because “it seemed like there were so many other priorities in the world, that it wasn’t my place to speak out,” he said, referencing the coronavirus.
But the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who was killed by a white police officer last week in Minneapolis, and the protests that followed, prompted Miller, a Minnesota native, to take a stand.
“I struggle because I’ve never been fully accepted by either the black community or the white community,” Miller said. “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.”
The NHL and all tiers of hockey have long-been hotbeds for racism. In 2011, a fan in Canada threw a banana onto the ice when then-Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds, who is black, was attempting to score in a shootout.
Former NHLer Akim Aliu in November alleged that his one-time coach Bill Peters showered him with racial slurs while he played under Peters a decade ago in the minor leagues. Peters resigned as the Calgary Flames coach this season following the accusations, and found a new coaching job in Russia.
In response to the Miller incident, the NHL said that “no one deserves to be subjected to such ugly treatment and it will not be tolerated in our League.”
The Rangers eventually disabled the chat feature, and the call continued without further disruption. Five-hundred fans had logged on to hear from their newest player.
Miller, the team’s 22nd overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, signed a three-year, $3.825 million contract with the Rangers on March 16, shortly after the league shut down due to the coronavirus.
The Rangers on Monday did not immediately return a request for comment.
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