It’s unclear if San Jose Sharks winger Joel Ward will end up being the first black NHL player to kneel during the national anthem, following in the footsteps of Colin Kaepernick and other professional athletes.
Ward might be the first one to state that he’s mulling it over, though.
Earlier today, PHT took a look at how NHL players are reacting to the controversy surrounding Donald Trump and the NFL, including Kyle Okposo and Josh Ho-Sang in this follow-up.
Ward, 36, probably provided the rawest take so far, as he told the Mercury News’ Paul Gackle that he might just kneel during the national anthem, and also shared his experiences dealing with racism in hockey and in a broader sense.
“It’s definitely something I wouldn’t cross out,” Ward said of possibly kneeling.
“I’ve experienced a lot of racism myself in hockey and on a day-to-day occurrence. I haven’t really sat down to think about it too much yet, but I definitely wouldn’t say no to it.”
Ward really opened up to Gackle, speaking of experiences as both a child and an adult.
As a reminder, the veteran forward dealt with racist and threatening comments after scoring a Game 7 overtime-winning goal against the Boston Bruins during a 2012 playoff series when he was a member of the Washington Capitals. Ward was contacted by the FBI after facing death threats.
Again, Ward isn’t guaranteeing that he will make such a gesture during one or more anthem performances. It’s courageous for him to be so open about the possibility – and his own feelings on the matter – either way.
Update: Ward expanded upon the issue in this tweet on Thursday: