clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown raises fist during national anthem

Brown becomes the first NHL player to protest during a regular season game.

Before the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Saturday night game against the Florida Panthers, forward J.T. Brown raised his fist in a show of solidarity during the national anthem.

The display is the first time this regular season that an NHL player has acted in support of Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protests during the national anthem in the NFL. The protests have been bringing attention to police brutality and racial inequality across the United States.

Brown previously raised his fist during a handful Lightning preseason games.

The NHL has had a few black players speak out on the protests after the Pittsburgh Penguins doubled down on their confirmation of a White House visit in September. San Jose’s Joel Ward and Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds were the two most outspoken players on the issue, though no one in the NHL has yet to take a knee on the ice during the national anthem.

A resurgence of the movement came in late September when President Donald Trump called for the firing of kneeling NFL players. The NFL rallied around the statement and had more protests than ever during the opening weeks of the new season.

Brown has previously stated that the protests during the anthem were not disrespectful of the flag or the military, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

"Some will tell you that's disrespecting the military, well I wanted to hear it from someone who is serving, not some person on Twitter," Brown said. "Some thought (kneeling) it was disrespecting, but most felt that we have a right to do it, regardless of whether they agree with you or not, or would stand next to you."

After the protest, the Lightning put out a statement on Brown, saying they "respect [their] players and individual choices they may make on social and political issues."

Brown has been in and out of the Lightning lineup, but he will likely continue his protest when playing for Tampa Bay this season.

Here’s Brown speaking out on his protest after the game, saying he wanted to bring light to important issues.

On Sunday, Brown reiterated his comments from the previous night on Twitter, stating that the protest has “never been about the military or disrespecting the flag. It is about police brutality, racial injustice, and inequality in this country.”