Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press
Tampa Bay Lightning winger J.T. Brown became the first NHL player to demonstrate during the national anthem in the regular season when he raised his fist in the air prior to Saturday’s game against the Florida Panthers.
Pete Blackburn of CBS Sports captured an image of Brown with his fist raised:
Pete Blackburn @PeteBlackburn
JT Brown goes fist up during the national anthem in Florida https://t.co/n96r7DOKf0
Brown began raising his fist during the national anthem in the preseason. He told Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times he was doing it to help bring awareness to racial inequality and police brutality.
“Some will tell you that’s disrespecting the military,” Brown said. “Well, I wanted to hear it from someone who is serving, not some person on Twitter. Some thought (kneeling) 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.”
The 27-year-old Brown also told Smith he’s unsure of how long he will go on raising his fist during the playing of the national anthem, but the bigger deal was “to keep trying to bring awareness.”
Many NFL players have done some form of protest during the national anthem, including raising their fist or taking a knee. The movement began last year with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s attempt to bring awareness to racial inequality and injustice in the United States.