Tampa Bay Lightning’s J.T. Brown says he won’t raise his fist during anthem again

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing J.T. Brown (23) before an NHL preseason hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown says he’s done raising his fist during the national anthem, and will instead be using his platform to build bridges and continue respectful conversations.

Almost two weeks ago, Brown became the first NHL player to participate in the anthem protests that professional athletes all around the country have been taking part in.

On Wednesday, he posted a note on Twitter to explain why.

“When I began my peaceful demonstration, I wanted to bring awareness to police brutality, racial injustice and inequalities,” Brown wrote on Twitter. “I also wanted to show that these issues were not going unnoticed by the hockey community.”

In his note, Brown said he’s thankful for the support from his teammates, coaches, management and staff as well as Lightning owner Jeff Vinik. After the game on Oct. 7 when Brown raised his fist, the forward says his team immediately asked how they could help him accomplish what he wants to do.

Since then, Brown says he has been in touch with the Tampa Police Department. Earlier this week, Brown took part in a simulation traffic stop with Tampa police.

“I am going to continue this relationship, even participating in ridealongs,” he said.

The hockey player is donating more than 600 tickets so organizations like Bigs in Blue and the R.I.C.H. House can attend Lightning games, and says he will meet with police officers and children after the games. He is also getting involved with the Vinik’s program with the Winston Park Boys and Girls Club where deputies from Hillsborough County volunteer.

“Together we can help teach these kids valuable life lessons and how to play hockey,” he said. “I will also continue to explore new ways to get involved in the community to help build bridges and create rewarding relationships.”

Brown added that he understands that the issue “cannot be resolved overnight, nor can I do it alone.”

“I am done raising my fist during the national anthem,” he wrote. “I am now using this support, opportunity and platform to call out everyone who agreed or disagreed with me to help by sharing suggestions, continuing respectful conversations and looking for ways they too can help make a difference in their community.”

WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s