Fans disgusted with the descent of the National Football League into the morass of left-wing, racial grievance politics were grateful that the puck finally dropped on the 2017 professional hockey season this week.
The National Hockey League is the least popular of America’s big four sports but it is far and away the most entertaining with skill, speed, scoring and most of all – a lack of the politics that have poisoned the NFL.
But as with everything, there are always a few troublemakers who are intent on letting their own bigotry and self-importance take priority over their responsibilities to the team and respect to the fans and the flag.
One of them would be Tampa Lightning forward and all-around assclown J.T. Brown who on Saturday, became the first NHL player to protest the national anthem by thrusting a black power fist – a symbol of violent defiance – into the air during Saturday’s game against the Florida Panthers.
The national anthem protest has expanded to the NHL. https://t.co/EbFy69nHfW
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) October 8, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown raised his right fist during the playing of the national anthem before the team’s first road game of the season.
The 27-year-old Brown, who was scratched for Tampa Bay’s season-opening win against Florida, remained standing throughout the anthem Saturday night. Brown, one of approximately 30 black players in the NHL, used the same protest before a preseason game against the Panthers last month.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem in the preseason a year ago to make a statement about social inequality and police treatment of blacks in the United States. Since then, the protest has spread to other sports.
“I wanted to do something to show my support. There’s some issues that we have to talk about,” Brown said postgame. “I know there’s going to be negative backlash, but in my heart I know I did what was right.”
Brown’s carrying of the Kaepernick torch into the rink isn’t likely to have much of an affect other than to piss off Lightning fans – many of who held a jersey burning before last Sunday’s NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers game – and provide an unnecessary distraction for a season in which the Bolts are considered to be a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
It is a stupid action by a guy who like his NFL comrades, doesn’t understand how good that he has it to get paid to play a game instead of finding a real job.
There are only about thirty black players in the National Hockey League and the best one of them, Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban has already said that he won’t be protesting. It is a different group of players that are drawn to hockey, they largely come from humble backgrounds where institutions are respected.
One has to wonder whether Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman regrets not leaving Brown exposed in this summer’s expansion draft because his militancy had already manifested itself last season.
Beyond a couple of meatheads, this is not going to be effective and once Brown has been boarded or crosschecked into submission by opponents looking to teach him a lesson, he will back down.