Kaepernick protest spreads to NHL

Kaepernick anthem protests spark controversy in NHL

Team USA head coach John Tortorella | Greg Bartram / Reuters

Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown has hit out at Team USA Coach John Tortorella over his comments about sports stars refusing to stand for the national anthem  – a trend recently set by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

“If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game,” Tortorella told ESPN on Tuesday, in response to a question about NFL quarterback Kaepernick’s protests about the treatment of minorities in the US.

NHL winger Brown took to Twitter to question Tortorella’s controversial comments, claiming they proved Kaepernick’s point.

Wouldn’t benching a black man for taking a stance only further prove Kap’s point of oppression? But hey 🐸☕️https://twitter.com/yahoosportsnhl/status/773293934286168064 

The 26-year-old followed up by issuing a statement, saying he bore “no ill will towards John Tortorella” and was merely questioning the validity of his views.

“He sees the situation through his reality and I see it through mine, as a black athlete in the NHL,” said Brown.

“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 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.”

Brown admitted it would have been easy to keep his opinion to himself, but said that he didn’t want young minorities who love the game of hockey to think that what’s going on in America today is being ignored 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,” said Brown.

“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.”

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