Race in America

Race in America: Education the key for Holtby to better understand racial justice issues

Race in America

Over the last two months, America has been having a long-overdue conversation about race, justice and equality in our society. At NBC Sports Washington, we wanted to further the dialogue by providing a forum for DMV-area sports figures who are thought leaders on these important issues.

NBC Sports Washington is launching the fourth part of an ongoing multiplatform content series entitled Race in America: Caps United for Change as part of the Washington Capitals’ initiatives related to diversity in hockey and racial equality. 

This week, Capitals players Braden Holtby, Brenden Dillon, Garnet Hathaway and an alumus, Joel Ward, joined host Chris Miller for the last of these roundtable discussions to share their thoughts, experiences and how they’re using their platform in this fight. To watch the full interview, click here. 

NBCSW will present Race in America: Caps United for Change as a five-part daily short-form digital video series on NBCSportsWashington.com, with new episodes published today, Monday, Aug. 17, through Friday, Aug. 21, and as a 30-minute television special, which debuted on Tuesday,  August 18, at 6:30 p.m. before Game 4 of the Capitals-Islanders first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series. 

There are few hockey players in the NHL as outspoken when it comes to social justice as Capitals goalie Braden Holtby.

When George Floyd was murdered, however, Holtby knew speaking out was not enough. He wanted to learn why.


“The last few months, I think you start asking yourself why a little bit more,” Holtby said. “Why has this happened repeatedly?”

Holtby decided to seek out that answer and was shocked by what he found.

NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller spoke with Holtby for a discussion on Racism in America. The Caps netminder shared how he sought to educate himself and what he learned about the systemic racism in the United States.

Holtby referenced the book “Lies my Teacher Told Me” by James Loewen which is a book on American history. He also watched a documentary by Ava DuVernay titled “13th.”

After educating himself, Holtby walked away with a greater understanding of the history of racism in America and why it it has been so difficult to remove it from the culture.

“It opened my mind a lot to just the history and how things have stockpiled and snowballed into this state we’re in now,” Holtby said. “You see little things more and more you don’t notice every day based on slavery and racism that still we see it in 2020. A lot of people don’t have the knowledge of what those things mean.”

The death of Floyd and subsequent protests have left many wondering what things they can do to help break the country free from that cloud of racism that persists within this country. Many don’t think about the benefit of educating themselves as to the history of racism, but learning the history of America and how racism has been a part of that history, we can gain a better understanding of all the ways in which racism manifests itself and how we can fight against it.

Said Holtby, “It’s obviously something I’ve never experienced, but it’s so disgusting to watch and you just can’t believe in these times that it keeps happening.”

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