A National Hockey League player has been voicing his opinion on the ongoing protest of the American National Anthem in the National Football League, and it's quite clear he supports the movement.
Tampa Bay Lightning forward JT Brown has made any overt statements to suggest that he two will be protesting the anthem, but after sharing a number of protest-friendly statements on his social media he was asked about it in a recent interview with the Tampa Bay Times.
“I’d like to make it clear that I have no ill will towards John Tortorella," said Brown. "I do not know him. I responded to a story on Twitter with my opinion and that was how I saw it. He sees the situation through his reality and I see it through mine, as a black athlete in the NHL. I know I’m not on the United States World Cup roster, but I have had a chance to represent my country on other occasions. My tweet was a hypothetical. What if I took a stance to promote awareness for one of the many injustices still occurring in our country and was punished despite there being no rule or law against it? My tweet was a response to that question.
“I could have been quiet and just kept my opinion to myself, but I don’t want young minorities who love the game of hockey to think that what’s going on in America today is going unnoticed by the hockey community. I love America and thank the military for protecting our freedoms, as well as law enforcement for protecting and serving our communities, but that doesn’t mean I can’t acknowledge that there is still racism today. I am glad my tweet provoked a discussion, because we need to start having a conversation about racism if we want to work towards a better America.
“While I don't plan on sitting during the national anthem, I will look for more opportunities to positively impact my community and bring awareness to racial issues.”
Brown also was defiant in the face of the suggestion that Tortorella would bench any player on his team that refused to stand for the anthem.
"Wouldn't benching a black man for taking a stance only further prove Kap's point of oppression?"
This has already led to vitriolic backlash for Brown, who has now received numerous threats of violence on social media. To be clear, no matter what your stance on this issue is, threatening violence on someone is not an acceptable position.
Unfortunately for Brown the anthem protests have been extremely unpopular to say the least, the NFL's ratings have plummeted since former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to begin kneeling for the anthem. It's unclear at this time how the Lightning or the NHL would react should he in fact refuse to stand for the playing of the national anthem.