By Will Burchfield
Should any American player decide to emulate Colin Kaepernick at the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, he won’t touch the ice.
That comes from U.S. head coach John Tortorella, who made his stance very clear on the issue of protesting the national anthem.
“If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there for the rest of the game,” Tortorella told ESPN’s Linda Cohn on Tuesday.
Colin Kaepernick has made waves recently by refusing to stand during the anthem to protest racial injustice in the U.S. His routine has gained a couple followers in the NFL and was endorsed over the weekend by American women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe.
On Tuesday, President Obama said Kaepernick was “executing his constitutional right.”
But it won’t be tolerated by Tortorella, a hardline coach whose son is an Army Ranger. In Tortorella’s mind, there is more at stake in the upcoming tournament than a gold medal.
“It is hockey, but I also think it is a huge platform for us to represent our country, especially in today’s world, with everything is going on,” he said.
J.T. Brown, a black player for the Tampa Bay Lightning, had an interesting response to Tortorella’s comments.
It remains to be seen if this becomes an issue with Tortorella’s players. The World Cup of Hockey, to be held in Toronto, begins September 17.