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.”