Monday evening, the Pittsburgh Penguins joined the growing trend of NHL teams, which released their statements regarding the unfolding events following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, who was in police custody. Peaceful protests sprang up across the country after Mr. Floyd was allegedly killed in Minneapolis by officer Derek Chauvin.
On Friday, prosecutors charged Chauvin with third-degree murder and manslaughter. However, protests on Saturday became violent across the country as anarchist groups and ANTIFA incited riots by damaging business storefronts, police cars, and by attacking others.
Pittsburgh Penguins President David Morehouse was lauded as a hero, though he has thus far refused comment. Morehouse left the safety of PPG Paints Arena to save a KDKA photojournalist, Ian Smith, whom some violent protestors assaulted.
Monday night, the Penguins statement read:
“This has been a horrible time for our country and our city. We all are appalled by senseless violence and share the outrage that racism and social injustice continue to permeate our society. The killing of Mr. Floyd impacted us all.
Moving forward from this moment, and after the violence that took place in our city on Saturday, we must work together to ensure that we always treat each other with dignity, respect, and a spirit of understanding. Let’s all be better together. Starting right now.”
Additional Statements and News
Throughout the day on Monday, the NHL released statements from teams and a few players. The tweets and retweets were released in small groups, including one from the NHL Coaches Association.
Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto responded to the violence. On Saturday, the city was placed under a curfew on Saturday, Sunday and even Monday night. Residents were told to stay indoors between 8:30 p.m and 6:00 a.m.
Volunteers and Pittsburgh City Public Works cleaned the streets and removed graffiti on Sunday morning, including from the Mario Lemieux statue at PPG Paints Arena. The statue which was defaced on Saturday afternoon, allegedly by 20-year-old Brian Bortles, of Shaler, who has been charged for multiple crimes during the protests, including inciting a riot.
Bortles turned himself in on Monday afternoon after police raided his home and found spraypaint and other items linking him to inciting a riot.