Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is generally in the mold of what we’ve come to expect from most National Hockey League players off the ice, in terms of being extremely careful with what’s said in public and to the media.
It’s smart business, really, particularly given the instant reaction world in which we live.
That mindset, though, is what makes the non-vanilla moments even more flavorful.
In June, Toews and his girlfriend were hiking in Hawaii and he posted a gorgeous picture on Instagram with an impassioned message about climate change.
The opinion was voiced with the news cycle surrounding President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord.
“Do you believe in climate change?” Toews wrote. “Whether you’re super pumped that we are putting ‘Americans first’ or you are absolutely outraged at the idea that we are taking yet another step backwards in dealing with a major global problem, the only way to solve this argument is to try and set your own agenda aside and see how this affects everybody.
“The only lie we tell ourselves is that we are more special than other life forms on the planet. Well, we’re not. Even if we weren’t responsible for any major climate catastrophes heading our way, shouldn’t we still do our part to preserve what we have left? The same way that we shouldn’t wait till our bodies break down completely to start doing the right things to stay healthy, let’s not wait till it’s too late to do something.
“I am not saying I am perfectly ‘green’, but the first step is to keep an open mind and try to learn what you don’t already know.”
Do you believe in climate change? Whether you're super pumped that we are putting 'Americans first' or you are absolutely outraged at the idea that we are taking yet another step backwards in dealing with a major global problem, the only way to solve this argument is to try and set your own agenda aside and see how this affects everybody. The only lie we tell ourselves is that we are more special than other life forms on the planet. Well, we're not. Even if we weren't responsible for any major climate catastrophes heading our way, shouldn't we still do our part to preserve what we have left? The same way that we shouldn't wait till our bodies break down completely to start doing the right things to stay healthy, let's not wait till it's too late to do something. I am not saying I am perfectly 'green', but the first step is to keep an open mind and try to learn what you don't already know.
Hmm. High-profile athlete. A message with even a hint of politics in it. Social media.
What could possibly go wrong?
Aside from the requisite hockey talk, Toews was asked if he received any blowback from the climate-related post.
“I guess a little bit, if you check the comments,” Toews replied. “At the end of the day, I try my best to not necessarily force my opinion or force what I think is right on anybody else.
“It’s clearly something I’ve been vocal about since I’ve joined social media. I think the major reason I got on social media to begin with was just to try to get into some non-profit work and start to promote some ideas I care about as far as health and wellness and clearly the environment.
“So I think in this case all I was just trying to say was it doesn’t matter what your beliefs are, or what you think you know, at the end of the day sometimes it’s worth putting that aside and listening to what your opponent or what the opposition has to say.
“I think, at the end of the day, whether you’re a – again, without getting too political – if you’re a Trump supporter or not, it’s just been such a divisive thing, especially if you turn on the TV in the United States or even Canada. I think that the best thing we all can do is listen to someone that has a different opinion than us. I think that’s what I was trying to say, without saying too much about what my personal beliefs are. And I think people were so quick to jump all over it and jump all over me…
“It was interesting to see. At the end of the day, I don’t plan on getting too political. I don’t think there’s any benefit to that, but I still think it’s worth discussing. It’s interesting to see the backlash there is too.”
Blair followed up with Toews, pointing out how there must be an urge for those with influence to “push causes beyond the realm.”
“I think there’s got to be, first of all, the urge to get involved and to be interested in what’s going on instead of just your little bubble, your little world,” explained Toews. “So I think as I’ve grown a little bit older that’s kind of the thing I’ve worked on away from the rink.
“It’s just trying to educate myself and also not be the first one to say I know what I’m talking about, and to attach myself to say anything. And always to say, ‘Hey, this is what I’ve learned so far, but that might change and I might realize I was wrong.’
“So I’m not always going to anchor myself on one position. Which, again, going back to what I mentioned earlier, seems to be what everyone really gets hung up on. They have one idea in their head, and then they stick with it, and they’ll fight you to the death for it.
“Sometimes, at the end of the day, we need to be a little bit more objective when it comes to those things.”
Or – stick to hockey, Toews!!
The choice is yours.
Source: Sportsnet 590