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Sabres' Jimmy Vesey: 'It's clear that this country has a significant problem'

Sabres' Jimmy Vesey: 'It's clear that this country has a significant problem'

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Buffalo Sabres forward Jimmy Vesey. (Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

Jimmy Vesey wanted to use his platform to denounce the killing of George Floyd and the widespread racial injustice that has led to mass, and sometimes violent, protests across the United States.

Vesey issued more than a thoughtful statement Wednesday.

The Buffalo Sabres winger revealed in a letter posted to Twitter that in addition to his "pledge to be a bigger part of the solution going forward," he also made a monetary contribution to the Boston chapter of the NAACP.

Vesey, 27, the first Sabres player to release an extensive statement on the issue, began by acknowledging his affluent background. He "grew up in a largely white community" near Boston, attended a "largely white prep school," and received his post-secondary education at Harvard University. Vesey added he was either naive or ignorant to the "prevalence of racial crimes."

However, the "gut-wrenching" videos depicting "extreme injustices" against "people of color" by law enforcement and violence during protests signaled to Vesey, "It's clear that this country has a significant problem."

"While there may not be a 'one-size-fits-all' solution to fix the racial and cultural discrepancies that still exist, the constant finger-pointing and partisanship that I hear every day only seem to be muddling the matter and pulling us further apart," he wrote. "It's pretty evident that we need to do a lot better.

"In light of yesterday's #blackouttuesday, I pledge to be a bigger part of the solution going forward – to observe, to listen and to further educate myself on matters of racism and inequality. In doing so, I stand with anti-racism, including in the game of hockey, in hopes of one day changing the current status quo. To signify putting my words into action, I have donated to the Boston branch of the NAACP.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of George Floyd and all of the others who have lost in similar tragedy."

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died May 25 when a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, and it was captured in graphic detail on a video that circulated on the internet.

A number of prominent NHL players have posted messages similar to Vesey's on social media in recent days, including San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane, Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin and Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos.

Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula released the following statement Monday: "We are saddened and angered by the actions of those involved in the senseless killing of George Floyd. We stand with and will continue to work with those dedicated to eradicating racism and inequality. We stand with those peacefully protesting. We stand against those who are motivated by hatred and violence. We pray for the victims and their families and ask you to join us to help foster a community that is focused on love and equality."

Vesey was acquired by the Sabres from the New York Rangers last July, and he is a pending unrestricted free agent after totaling nine goals with 11 assists in 64 games with Buffalo this season.

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News Sports Reporter

I've covered the Sabres and National Hockey League for The Buffalo News since November 2018. My previous work included coverage of the Pittsburgh Pirates and University of Pittsburgh athletics for

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