Earlier this month, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick made a huge political splash when he chose to sit down during the playing of the national anthem in a preseason game for social reasons.
Since then, Kaepernick has modified his strategy, kneeling during the anthem instead – but other athletes have joined in his protest, including NWSL star and Team USA women’s soccer standout Megan Rapinoe. There’s always the question – will other athletes join in?
At the World Cup of Hockey, anyone from Team USA who does so won’t be seeing the ice.
Linda Cohn of ESPN reported on Tuesday afternoon that USA head coach John Tortorella made it clear how he would react to any of his players opting to sit during the playing of the national anthem.
“When I asked Team USA coach John Tortorella about Kaepernick protest he told me “If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game,” said Cohn.
The sitting or kneeling during the national anthem was started by Kaepernick to protest the inequality seen by minorities in the United States, which he argued included police brutality. Kaepernick claimed that he couldn’t salute a flag that represented freedom for some, but not for all.
Rapinoe gave a similar message when asked about her own silent protest earlier last week, although she included the unequal treatment of the LGBTQ community in the United States as well.
Tortorella, famous for his outbursts and harsh words as a coach over the years, seems like the kind of bench boss who would make good on that kind of promise. As the World Cup looms ever closer, though, the question of whether any players would be bold enough to go against him will now potentially weigh in fans minds.
The World Cup of Hockey officially begins on September 17th in Toronto, Ontario.