Not One Player Kneels At NHL Games, Two Teams Show ‘Unity Supporting Equality’ During Anthem In Different Way
Bucking trends in other professional sports, not a single player kneeled during the playing of the national anthem at three different NHL exhibition games played this week.
The Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins all stood for the anthem on Tuesday.
“The Penguins and Flyers, two of the fiercest rivals in sports, united in solidarity this afternoon, to stand up against social injustice, racism, and hate,” a post from the Penguins said. “The teams stood as one across each club’s respective blue lines prior to today’s game.”
During an exhibition game between the New York Islanders and New York Rangers in Toronto Wednesday, all players and coaches stood as the Canadian and Americans national anthems played before the game started.
The following day, Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators players stood during the national, as well. Instead of taking a knee, players locked arms before the exhibition game “as a show of unity supporting equality,” Dallas News reported.
Kneeling during the national anthem began back in 2016, when then-San Francisco 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest what he described as systemic police brutality against black Americans. Kaepernick’s messaging has since included pro-communist signaling and general anti-American sentiment.
“You’ve seen all the other teams do it,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn, referring to players linking arms. “We had some chats with Nashville and talked with [captain] Roman Josi. We thought it would be good to mix it up, link arms. We stand for equality and I think it’s important we keep talking about it and keep improving it.”
According to Dallas News, “Benn and Stars forward Ty Dellandrea also wore hoodies to their postgame interview that read ‘#WeSkateFor Equality,’ part of the league’s initiative that allows teams to choose a cause that they skate for. Players can individually choose a cause for the league’s #ISkateFor campaign.”
As part of the #ISkateFor campaign, reported Matthew DeFranks, players can choose from slogans that range from honoring frontline essential workers to promoting social justice.