Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane spoke to the media Thursday about his recent claims that he faces criticism from the public because he is black.
Kane's feelings about how he is treated on social media are included in a leaked story that will be in the next edition of The Hockey News (THN).
The Hockey News reporter Ken Campbell, who spoke to CBC News on Thursday, said he asked Kane about all the criticism.
"Do you think that this would happen if you were white? And he replied by saying that, 'No, I think a good portion of it is because I'm black and I'm not afraid to say that.'"
On Thursday, Kane spoke to the media and clarified his comments. He said he was referring specifically to criticism on social media sites like Twitter.
“Nobody has ever and I don’t think anybody ever will come up directly to my face and say something negative,” said Kane.
Kane said he's more than willing to accept criticism about his on-ice play.
“In terms of hockey criticism, that’s part of the job description. That comes with the territory,” said Kane.
But he said he is subject to criticism about his off-ice behavior that is unwarranted. He added, "You kind of get sick and tired of it.” The 21-year-old from Vancouver has faced criticism for posting photos to social media that showed him posing with stacks of money on a Las Vegas balcony. The photos came out while NHL players were in a lockout with the league, and money was one of the main issues of the impasse.
"Clearly NHLers aren't making enough money judging by the Evander Kane picture!" tweeted one person.
Another person thanked him for "reminding us what spoiled, entitled and unaccomplished athletes look like."
Kane was also chided on Twitter last month for his haircut, which included shaved letters YMCMB, or Young Money Cash Money Billionaires, a reference to Lil Wayne's record label.
Campbell said Kane is a brash young man who lived in Atlanta — before the Thrashers relocated to Winnipeg and became the Jets —where there is a substantial hip hop culture.
It is also a place where Kane had a much smaller public spotlight before coming to hockey-mad Winnipeg, he added.
"It's a complete, sort of, 180-degree turn for him so, you know, I don't think it speaks to Winnipeg specifically. I just think it speaks to an adjustment that this young man has had to make," Kane said in the piece.
Campbell said social media can make it so easy to promote racism because people can hide anonymously behind their keyboards.
Kane said Thursday his primary concern is the game and despite heavy criticism, he loves his job.
“My concern is playing hockey, and I don’t go out and try to hurt other people in terms of my personal life. I think I’m a pretty good guy, and I do what I can to help other people out,” explained Kane.
He added, “I wouldn’t trade playing in the NHL for anything in the world.”