Aaron Portzline at The Athletic interviewed both John Tortorella and J.T. Brown on the topic of protesting in the NHL.
You might remember that Brown protested police killings in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick while a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2017. You might also remember the infamous quote by the former Bolts head coach stating, “If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game,” during the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
What looked like two sides arguing against each other seems to have finally blossomed in the minds of many that protesting during the anthem is not in disrespect to soldiers. It is a call for attention to police brutality. There are no two sides here. There is only a misunderstanding rooted in misinformation.
Following the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent national — now international — protests, Tortorella says in the article that he understands now what the protest was meant for. I will add that Tortorella doesn’t indicate clearly that he supports Brown’s cause, only that he respects the right for Americans to peacefully protest. Tortorella also has a history of being very disrespectful and cruel to his players, particularly towards Anthony Duclair.
I still can’t believe what I heard from Tortorella on Duclair. I’ve never heard an NHL coach rip one of his players to shreds like that. Just prior to game time, no less. And in Duclair’s hometown.— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) February 19, 2019
Duclair was traded to Ottawa by the Blue Jackets four days after the above quote and subsequently lit up the league with the Senators. Brown was placed on waivers by the Lightning three months after his protest in October of 2017.
I recommend reading the whole article for yourself and making your own conclusions. I personally found what Tortorella didn’t say as loudest quote in the article. But at the end of the day, to each their own.
In likely a funny coincidence (not), Brown changed his profile picture to a piece of artwork done by @notafan_jo on Twitter of his protest shortly after the article went live on The Athletic.
Peep the profile pic pic.twitter.com/ma7rFQyEQ5— jordan | BLACK LIVES MATTER (@notafan_jo) June 10, 2020
While every team nominates a player for the Bill Masterton Trophy, like the Lightning did with Alex Killorn, I think the real winner this year will be Oskar Lindblom.
This is MY Masterton nominee pic.twitter.com/JZhisSDofi— Steph Driver (@StephaliciousD) June 10, 2020
And things just keep getting worse for Eugene Melnyk.
With Alfie on the station today. I thought back to his departure from the Sens front office. From what I was told, the Sens wanted to shift his salary from hockey ops, onto the foundation's payroll.— Shawn Simpson (@TSNSimmer) June 10, 2020