Minnesota native Wheeler: 'America is not OK'
Jonathan Kozub / National Hockey League / Getty

Winnipeg Jets captain and Minnesota native Blake Wheeler tweeted a statement Saturday calling for systemic change in the United States amid protests following George Floyd's killing.

"I've wanted to say something for a while, but it's been really difficult knowing what to say. My hometown is burning. Businesses where I grew up are being boarded up. America is not OK," Wheeler wrote.

"Growing up outside Minneapolis, I always felt sheltered from racism. That's because I was. Most people I grew up with looked like me. I never had to be scared when I stopped at a traffic light or saw the police in public. My kids will never know that fear either.

"I'm heartbroken that we still treat people this way. We need to stand with the black community and fundamentally change how the leadership in this country has dealt with racism. I'm sorry it has taken this long, but I'm hopeful that we can change this NOW. George Floyd's life mattered. Ahmaud Arbery's life mattered. So did every other life that has been lost by this senseless violence and racism."

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed Monday in Minneapolis after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on his neck for over eight minutes while Floyd was handcuffed on the ground. The incident has sparked mass outrage and protests across the U.S.

San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane, one of the few black players in the NHL, called Friday for more high-profile athletes to publicly speak out against racism. Sharks captain Logan Couture backed Kane on Saturday, stating that athletes cannot continue turning a blind eye to racism in hockey.

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Minnesota native Wheeler: 'America is not OK'
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