While most NFL players appear to be united on kneeling during the U.S. national anthem, that same solidarity may not hold true when it comes to hockey.
Canadian-born hockey star P.K. Subban, currently playing with the Nashville Predators, was reportedly overheard in a Nashville comedy club vowing to “never” take a knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner”, as reported by Yahoo Sports.
On-lookers also reported that Subban explained that he has too much respect for the American flag.
The phenomenon began last year when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand alongside his teammates during the anthem, instead dropping to one knee as a protest against police brutality and racial inequality in the United States.
While Kaepernick is currently a free agent who’s not playing for any team, U.S. President Donald Trump enflamed nearly the entire NFL during a speech last week in which he described pro football players who refuse to stand during the anthem as “sons of b***hes” who should be “fired.” As a result of Trump’s comments, this past weekend saw more than 200 NFL players protest in some way during the anthem.
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Subban isn’t the only NHL star who won’t be taking a knee; Buffalo Sabres forward Kyle Okposos, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews and Boston Bruins forward David Backes all have come forward to say they will not kneel during the national anthem.
Canadian hockey hero Sidney Crosby has also opted to stay out of the debate, which has put him under fire on social media for his decision to accept an invitation to visit Trump at the White House with the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Predators coach Peter Laviolette explained the team’s stance on the issue in an interview with The Tennessean.
“We met as a group [Tuesday], and our decision is we’re going to stand for the national anthem out of respect for the anthem, for our country, for the people who serve for our country. That’s what we talked about, and that’s where we’re at,” said Laviolette.
“I also understand that there’s a freedom of speech. We totally respect that. Everybody has a different opinion. For us internally, if there’s anything that we can do to send positive messages throughout the country in any way, that would be a good thing.”