In a post on Twitter today entitled “Here’s what’s next,” Tampa Bay Lightning forward JT Brown announced that he will no longer raise his fist during the playing of the national anthem. Brown stated that his original intent was to raise awareness for racial inequality, and that he will continue to be involved in raising awareness and helping the local community in other ways.
Brown thanked the Lightning organization, including his teammates, coaches, management, staff, and owner Jeff Vinik, for the support they gave him during a protest that occurred on September 28 and October 7, both against the Florida Panthers in Sunrise. “I am incredibly thankful for my team’s support,” Brown’s statement read, “[they] were all supportive of my choice to exercise my First Amendment Right regardless of their personal feelings. Immediately after the game last Saturday, they asked me how they can help me accomplish what I want to be done.”
Brown’s statement outlines his future actions, which includes joining the Tampa Police Department on ride-alongs and for their other community projects. He will donate game tickets to the organizations Bigs in Blue, a Big Brothers Big Sisters of America project that connects police with at-risk children, and the RICH House, a police- and fire-fighter-run organization dedicated to bolstering the education of children living in poverty. He will also become involved with the Winston Park Boys and Girls Club, an organization sponsored by the Vinik family.
The statement concludes, “I will also continue to explore new ways to get involved in the community to help build bridges and create rewarding relationships. I understand that this issue cannot be resolved overnight, nor can I do it alone [....] I am now using this support, opportunity and platform to call out everyone who agrees 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.”
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