Ethan Bear is taking a stand, and not only for himself.
The Edmonton Oilers defenceman was the victim of racism online following his team’s quick exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
His girlfriend, Lenasia Ned, shared a message on Instagram on Tuesday, condemning the numerous racist messages and comments he received. Bear, who is proud to be from the Ochapowace First Nation in Saskatchewan, is calling for change.
“I’ve been subject to racist behaviour on social media,” Bear said in a video posted to social media by the Edmonton Oilers, alongside his girlfriend. “I know this doesn’t represent all Oilers fans or hockey fans, and I greatly appreciate your support and your love during this time.
“I’m here to stand up to this behaviour, to these comments. I’m proud of where I come from. I’m proud to be from Ochapowace First Nation.
“I’m not just doing this for myself, I’m doing this for all people of colour, I’m doing this for the next generation to help make change, to love one another, to support one another, to be kind to each other. There’s no place for racism in our communities, in sports, or in our workplace.
“So I call on all of us to help make change. And to end racism. We all deserve to be treated fairly, and the end of the day, I think we’ll get there.”
"I'm here to stand up to this behaviour… I'm proud of where I come from. I'm proud to be from Ochapowace First Nation. I'm not just doing this for myself. I'm doing this for all people of colour & for the next generation."
Ethan Bear's statement in response to racist comments. pic.twitter.com/3CK6DENnHC
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) May 26, 2021
A groundswell of support has been generated for Bear on social media in the last two days, with hockey fans and media showing support.
Proud of this young man Ethan Bear leading the way for our Indigenous communities. I’ve experience racism myself at the @NHL level. Those who are geared towards racism are obviously dealing with mental issues themselves. You know who you’re ! Help is out there !! @EdmontonOilers pic.twitter.com/CuECkfIigf
— Jordin Tootoo (@Jtootoo22) May 26, 2021
Friendly reminder that Ethan Bear has run a hockey camp in his hometown since 2017. A true inspiration in his community. pic.twitter.com/C7QQL0tQG3
— Adam (@OilersAdam) May 26, 2021
Ethan Bear is the absolute coolest. This is not debatable. pic.twitter.com/pTovJ9P28o
— Jonathan Torrens (@TorrensJonathan) May 26, 2021
The racism directed at Ethan Bear is disgusting. It never has been okay, it never will be okay.
I hope we see the @EdmontonOilers publicly take a stand against it.
— Allison (@AlleyDalley) May 26, 2021
Ethan Bear – I see you. I appreciate you. Thank you for all you do on AND off the ice. I am so damn glad you’re an Oiler. 🧡💙 pic.twitter.com/sc8Ie0K7qu
— Tes B (@tg_bennett) May 26, 2021