John Tortorella, the present coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, warned players of Team USA that they will be benched during World Cup of Hockey in case they do not stand up for national anthem. He is afraid that any of his team members will pull a Colin Kaepernick. The latter- a backup quarterback for San Francisco 49ers triggered a nation-wide controversy for his insistence on sitting when “The Star Spangled Banner” was being played. His explanation was that he was trying to attract attention towards police brutality and racial injustice in the United States.
Protest and awareness
Tortorella was clearly proud to be an American. In his interviews to the media, he told hat he felt honored to coach the national team during the hockey tournament in September.
It must be said that no player included in Team USA has expressed anything of protest. They will hopefullt stand at attention when the national anthem will be played. The coach, however, has made his feelings extremely clear.
The former coach of the Rangers entrusted with leading the American squad in Toronto, Canada, told the media in no uncertain terms that players who will not stand up when the national anthem will be played will not be allowed to represent the nation. In short, they will not be included in the team. The consequence will affect more than one game. The concerned player may not play in the rest of the tournament as well.
Players have a view on such activism too. David Backes, a Forward of Boston Bruins, holds the opinion that the issue of standing during national anthem can depend on whether that particular person is trying to make a stand. He believes that as atheletes, the moment gives an excellent platform to broadcast their views and even influence social change. It is another matter, that not to stand when the nation's music is played- the same nation which has given so much to the players and even allowed many to play, can be a debatable matter.
Backes, although supporting Kaepernick, said that he also salutes those who have given their life and limbs for the country, and for its people. He added that he will salute the US flag everytime it get raised. Cory Schneider, the goal keeper of the New Jersey Devils, said that the players just want to concentrate on representing the United States.