Off the ice, Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller is a visible advocate for police, the military and first responders. He wears clothing that shows support, counts military members among his close friends and pondered a non-hockey career with the Navy Seals.
This is a time of widespread protest over police brutality, following the May 25 killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Several of his teammates have been outspoken about their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, including captain Zdeno Chara, who attended a protest on June 5 in Brookline, and Patrice Bergeron, who donated $50,000 to racial justice causes.
Miller, in a now-deleted Instagram post on June 2, captioned a black square for “Blackout Tuesday” with “blacklivesmatter bluelivesmatter alllivesmatter.”
Asked by a Globe reporter for his view of the last few weeks, Miller gave a long, reflective response that expressed his disgust over Floyd’s death, his support for nonviolent protesters and his backing of law enforcement.
“I think first and foremost, I stand firmly behind my teammates, the organization, the statements they’ve made — the courageous statements they’ve made,” he said. “I think everybody loves to hear and loves to see that there is a conversation that needs to be had and there is some change that needs to happen.”
Miller called the widely shared video of then-officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, “disgusting to watch.” He then said it was “unfortunate” that it became a “divisive issue.” In Miller’s view, protesters taking a “you’re either with us or against us” stance and “rioting” won’t help advance the cause of equality.
“I think the protests are necessary, it’s part of our First Amendment rights, it’s right there in the Constitution,” he said. “I think the majority of people who are protesting are doing it in a very good way, and it’s unfortunate that some of those protests have turned into riots and clouded what happened.
“And that’s what’s frustrating, that 99.99 percent of people are all on the same page. They saw that and said, this is wrong, and we should all use this as a rallying cry to come together. I think it’s unfortunately gone the other way. In my opinion it’s become a divisive issue, where it should be one where it brings everyone together.
“As far as the military and police and first-responder support goes, I don’t view, in my opinion, I don’t view one life as more meaningful than another. I think what happened to Mr. Floyd, like I said, was terrible. Then you see some of the acts that happened afterward, where you see police officers and citizens being killed during some of these riots.
“Race aside, I think the value of life and love for people and love for your neighbor and one another needs to go up. And that’s just my view.
“It’s almost strange for me nowadays, that you can’t say one thing and be on both sides. You can’t say ‘I support Black Lives Matter and I also support the police,’ and not be on one side. I think that that is wrong.
“I think people are mad and I understand that. They have the right to be mad. And I’m mad. A lot of people saw [Floyd’s death], and they’re just, it’s not OK. I think it needs to be, it should have been, I wish it would have been, a rallying cry for real change in one direction, rather than saying, ‘You’re either with us or against us.’ I just think it’s unfortunate.
“I believe in the American spirit, and I believe that people truly care about one another. I think in some time, it’s going to cause some really good change. Not just in our sport, but throughout the country. I’m looking forward to seeing brighter days to come.”