Former Lightning coach John Tortorella to bench Team USA players sitting during U.S. Anthem

Columbus Blue Jackets' John Tortorella gives instructions during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh Friday, Nov. 13, 2015.(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Former Tampa Bay Lightning coach and current Team USA hockey coach John Tortorella is making it abundantly clear what his take is on the national anthem.

“If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game,” he told ESPN’s Linda Cohn.

Tortorella said he’ll lead Team USA during the World Cup of Hockey beginning on September 17th.

The act of sitting during the Star Spangled Banner started when San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick did it during an NFL Pre-Season Game. Kaepernick created controversy over the move done “as a form of protest to racial inequality and injustices in America,” NBC Sports reported. 

Just a day after Tortorella’s comments, Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown. voiced his disagreement with the approach.

Tortorella’s son is an active Army Ranger. In talking with the Columbus Dispatch, he said his son’s service “changed my language.” During the interview, he “pledged to stop referring to hockey games as “wars” and “battles,” NBC Sports reported.

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