J.T. Brown of Tampa Bay Lightning outlines next steps after anthem protest


Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown said on social media Wednesday that he’s done raising his fist during the national anthem, but he’s not done as an activist, outlining “what’s next” for him.

Brown said he received death threats on social media after raising his right fist during the national anthem before his team’s Oct. 7 game against the Florida Panthers.

On Wednesday, he wrote:

“When I began my peaceful demonstration, I wanted to bring awareness to police brutality, racial injustice and inequalities. I also wanted to show that these issues were not going unnoticed by the hockey community. I am incredibly thankful for my team’s support.”

Brown said that immediately after the Oct. 7 game, teammates, coaches, management, staff and team owner Jeffrey Vinik asked how they “can help me accomplish what I want to be done.”

Brown said he is speaking with the Tampa Police Department and will even go on ride-alongs. He is donating more than 600 Lightning tickets to organizations like Bigs in Blue, a Big Brothers Big Sisters of America program that connects youth with police; and RICH house, a safe haven for at-risk youth in Tampa.

He also said he will become involved in Vinik’s program with the Boys & Girls Club to help teach hockey and life lessons.

“I will also help continue to explore new ways to get involved in the community, to help build bridges and create rewarding relationships,” Brown wrote.

In saying that he will not raise his fist during the anthem, Brown 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.”

Brown’s protest was the first known demonstration of any kind during the anthem before an NHL regular-season game. Brown also protested in a similar manner before a preseason game against the Panthers in September.

The NHL, like Major League Baseball, doesn’t have rules governing what players must do during the national anthem. The NBA requires its players to stand for the anthem. The NFL uses conditional wording in its policy, stating that “players on the field and bench area should stand at attention.”

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 minorities in the United States. Since then, the protest has spread to other sports.

NFL owners, league leaders and players met Tuesday in New York to discuss social issues.



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