San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick caused quite a stir this preseason when he decided to not stand for the National Anthem as a form of protest to racial inequality and injustices in America. It is a protest that has not only received both criticism and praise, but also one that a couple of other athletes (both within the NFL and outside of it) have since followed.
One place you probably will not see it happen is on a team coached by John Tortorella.
Tortorella was asked about that very situation on Tuesday by ESPN’s Linda Cohn and was very clear about how he would handle it. That player would not leave the bench for the remainder of the game.
“If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game,” Tortorella said.
Along with his duties as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Tortorella is also the head coach of the United States team at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, something that he obviously takes very seriously beyond what it means on the ice.
“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,” Tortorella said on Tuesday.
One player that seemed to have a disagreement with Tortorella’s approach was Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown.
Along with his plan to bench any player that does not stand Tortorella, whose son is an Army Ranger, has also pledged to stop referring to hockey games as “wars” and “battles” because of the new perspective he has because of his son’s service.