The NFL protests have begun a debate in this country ever since Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel for the national anthem last year. Ever since that moment, more athletes and celebrities have followed his lead and have protested our flag. A few weeks ago, it reached a fever pitch with multiple NFL teams sitting out the anthem and some even refusing to leave the locker room.
The NFL isn’t the only place where this type of behavior is happening as we now see the protests have leaked over to other sports. Players in the NBA have voiced their approval of the NFL and many of the players’ decisions to kneel for the anthem. Even Stevie Wonder kneeled at one of his concerts and a single baseball player for the Athletics knelt in protest. The fans are tired of watching these entitled athletes get away with their antics. Out of the big four sports in America, it seemed that hockey was the only place left to go, until now.
The National Hockey League is the least popular of America’s big four sports but it is far and away the most entertaining with skill, speed, scoring and most of all – a lack of the politics that have poisoned the NFL.
But as with everything, there are always a few troublemakers who are intent on letting their own bigotry and self-importance take priority over their responsibilities to the team and respect to the fans and the flag.
One of them would be Tampa Lightning forward and all-around assclown J.T. Brown who on Saturday, became the first NHL player to protest the national anthem by thrusting a black power fist – a symbol of violent defiance – into the air during Saturday’s game against the Florida Panthers.
Via USA Today “Lightning forward J.T. Brown raises fist during national anthem”:
Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown raised his right fist during the playing of the national anthem before the team’s first road game of the season.
The 27-year-old Brown, who was scratched for Tampa Bay’s season-opening win against Florida, remained standing throughout the anthem Saturday night. Brown, one of approximately 30 black players in the NHL, used the same protest before a preseason game against the Panthers last month.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem in the preseason a year ago to make a statement about social inequality and police treatment of blacks in the United States. Since then, the protest has spread to other sports.
“I wanted to do something to show my support. There’s some issues that we have to talk about,” Brown said postgame. “I know there’s going to be negative backlash, but in my heart I know I did what was right.”
Brown’s carrying of the Kaepernick torch into the rink isn’t likely to have much of an affect other than to piss off Lightning fans – many of who held a jersey burning before last Sunday’s NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers game – and provide an unnecessary distraction for a season in which the Bolts are considered to be a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
It is a stupid action by a guy who like his NFL comrades, doesn’t understand how good that he has it to get paid to play a game instead of finding a real job.
There are only about thirty black players in the National Hockey League and the best one of them, Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban has already said that he won’t be protesting. It is a different group of players that are drawn to hockey, they largely come from humble backgrounds where institutions are respected.
Hockey is a very different sport, and it won’t take long for other players to seek J.T. Brown and teach him a lesson that he won’t soon forget. I wonder how the Lightning will respond to Brown’s actions. At this point, they are probably regretting taking him on in the first place. One has to wonder whether Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman regrets not leaving Brown exposed in this summer’s expansion draft because his militancy had already manifested itself last season.
Unlike football, Brown’s actions won’t manifest into something bigger like what the NFL is dealing with right now. In time Brown will learn his place and this will just be a blip on the radar. The NHL can’t afford to lose any fans, so you can guarantee this won’t continue on. What do you think?