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Rangers' K'Andre Miller addresses being called racial slurs in wake of George Floyd's death

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New York Rangers prospect K’Andre Miller addressed “frustration and anger” at being called a racial slur while introduced to fans two months ago. The 20-year-old said he decided to make his first comments on the incident after the death of George Floyd and the protests continuing around the world.

Racial slurs directed at Miller in Zoom call

Miller was drafted by the Rangers in 2018 and signed his three-year entry-level contract in March. The team designed a conference call between Miller and 500 fans using Zoom on April 3.

It was meant to be a fun introduction during the COVID-19 pandemic, but a Zoom user used the chat function on the side to type out a racial slur over and over again.

Miller addresses frustration

In a Twitter statement on Monday, Miller said he felt uncomfortable speaking out about it while the coronavirus was at the height of its impact in America. And that he “struggled for months to find the words to express my frustration and anger over” about the moment.

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Miller wrote:

“It seemed like there were so many other priorities in the world, that it wasn’t my place to speak out about that incident. The pandemic isn’t discriminatory, it has been difficult for everyone and the priority was to keep everyone safe.

“Now, the midst of the senseless death of George Floyd, at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, the peaceful protests and violent riots have become the focus for all of us. I want to express my growing concern for the safety of our citizens of color, specifically in my home state, given recent events. I support the Black Lives Matter movement.”

Floyd, 46, died while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. The death was ruled a homicide by a medical examiner. Protests have gone on around the nation and the world since then to make a statement against police brutality and stand for social justice.

Miller on struggle of race in hockey

New York Rangers Defenseman K'Andre Miller (79) skates during New York Rangers Prospect Development Camp on June 29, 2018 at the MSG Training Center in New York, NY. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
In the wake of George Floyd's death, K'Andre Miller spoke out about being called racial slurs in April. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Miller was born in the twin cities in St. Paul, Minnesota, and played on U.S. national teams at the past two World Junior Championships. He wrote of his struggle growing up in the hockey ranks as a black player in the same area where Floyd died.

“I struggle because I’ve never been fully accepted by either the black community or the white community. 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.

“You can only imagine how it felt to have an organization like the New York Rangers draft me, the hockey player. 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.”

Less than 5 percent of the NHL is made up of players of color and it’s an issue at the youth levels as well for a myriad of reasons. The sport has become a hotbed for racism.

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