While the NFL allows itself to become contaminated by politics, members of the NHL have made statements that should make every gridiron kneeler uncomfortable.
In fact, they should be downright embarrassed to hear what hockey coaches and players have to say about respect.
Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette told the Tennessean that his team would continue to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
“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,” he said. “That’s what we talked about, and that’s where we’re at.
Boston Bruins right wing David Backes told CSNNE.com that he would stand during the anthem because he recognized what was sacrificed for his freedom.
“My opinion is that I’m American and I love my country and I love my flag. I’ve got great buddies that have been in the military and they’ve sacrificed for my freedom, so I’d never want to do anything to disrespect that,” he said.
Auston Matthew and Matt Bartkowski, who are American but play on Canadian teams, have also voiced their opinions about the matter.
Matthews, who plays center on the Toronto Maple Leafs, told the CBC that he has family who have served in the military.
“To me, I don’t know if kneeling, sitting, stretching is something I’d really look into doing because to me it’s like a dishonor to the men and women who fight for that flag, that fight for the U.S.,” he said.
Bartkowski, who plays defense for the Calgary Flames, told the Calgary Sun that while protesting is a right, he choose to stand because he believes it’s a privilege to play the game.
“… For me, personally, the people that fought for our country, I like to represent the flag and what it stands for,” he said.
The Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins have decided not to jump on the anti-President Donald Trump train in regard to his comments about protesters.
The team released a statement Sunday announcing it would attend the customary White House visit out of respect for the office. (However, after catching heat from the politically liberal sports world, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan was forced to issue a statement Wednesday stressing that “the Penguins, as an organization and our players, have chosen not to use this platform to take a stance.”)
But regardless of what the coaches and owners might say, the comments from NHL players from around the league make it clear that professional hockey players recognize the importance of something that NFL kneelers have forgotten: respect.
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