Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown raised his right fist during the national anthem before a game against the Florida Panthers on Saturday night, becoming the first NHL player this regular season to join the silent protests that have been sweeping the NFL and other US sporting leagues.
Tampa Bay Lightning right wing J.T. Brown (23) during the warmups of the Carolina Hurricanes game versus the Tampa Bay Lighting on September 20, 2017, at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC. "It is about police brutality, racial injustice, and inequality in this country". MSN reports Brown also raised a fist during a preseason game. There comes a time where you can not remain silent, hoping and wishing for a change. "It takes much more", the player wrote on his Twitter account following the game with the Panthers. "In my mind, I'm just trying to bring a little more awareness, and any type of conversation that we can get started would be great".
The forward, 27, revealed on Sunday he received death threats on social media after his protest. He also mentioned that he-like Colin Kaepernick before him-had consulted members of the military about his demonstration during the anthem.
"I know it may not sit well with everyone, but to truly make change in this world, we must be able to be pushed outside of our comfort zone".
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Brown, one of 30 African-American players in the National Hockey League, said one "must be comfortable to be pushed outside of our comfort zone". We can't just stick with the status quo.
"This is not, and has never been, about the military or disrespecting the flag", Brown said of his decision to protest. Wrote Brown: "My (mentions) on Twitter alone prove why this topic must be talked about".
The goal in raising his fist, Brown added in his statement, is to raise awareness of "the real issues".
In a statement, the Lightning said they "respect [ed]" Brown's decision to protest.