The National Hockey League officially entered the anthem debate, or controversy, on Saturday when the league saw a player kneel during the American national anthem for the very first time. I must admit however the whole thing was was done in a rather odd fashion with Matt Dumba, a player for the Minnesota Wild, coming out prior to a game between the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks to kneel. It was a moment that has caused a bunch of controversy, which you can read about in our report on the topic, for a variety of reasons and is has ignited a debate among NHL fans and pundits alike.
Dumba is a member of the Hockey Diversity Alliance and although he choose to kneel before the anthem on Saturday, the other members of that group have yet to follow suit. On Saturday Las Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves was asked if he had given thought to kneeling prior to the game and although the big man did admit that he had considered the possibility, he gave a very well thought out reason for why he felt the move wasn't the right one to make for him personally.
It was discussed. You know, I think we wanted to do something as a team. For a lot of guys, kneeling isn't the way they would want to show support. If we wanted to do something as a team, my big thing was I didn't want anyone to feel uncomfortable. I know that if I said I wanted everybody to kneel somebody, at least one guy was going to feel uncomfortable. I didn't want that. This was the best way to be able to include everybody in it. Have everyone comfortable with what were doing.
I must admit that this is an incredibly classy and thoughtful response from the always introspective Ryan Reaves, and it also sheds some light on why so many of his former teammates speak so glowingly of the man even long after having played with him. Dumba no doubt opened the door to more gestures of this type today and it remains to be seen which players will follow suite, but for now it sounds like Reaves will not be among them.