Lightning winger J.T. Brown raises fist during American anthem

Watch as Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown raises his fist in the air during the playing of the national anthem.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger J.T. Brown became the first NHL player to protest during the American national anthem before a road game against the Florida Panthers.

Brown raised his right fist and bowed his head while the Star-Spangled Banner was played.

Brown, one of roughly 30 black NHL players, told the Tampa Bay Times earlier this week that he was considering this form of protest to bring awareness to police brutality and inequality for minorities. He added that he spoke to military members and family in an attempt to find a middle ground rather than kneeling.

“Some will tell you that’s disrespecting the military,” Brown told the newspaper. “Well, I wanted to hear it from someone who is serving, not some person on Twitter. Some thought (kneeling) was disrespecting, but most felt that we have a right to do it regardless of whether they agree with you or not, or would stand next to you.”

After the game, Brown spoke to reporters about his decision to raise his fist.

“I wanted to do something to show my support,” Brown said. “There are some issues that we have to talk about, so in my mind I’m just trying to bring a little more awareness and any type of conversation that we can get started would be great.

“I know there’s going to be negative backlash, but in my heart I know I did what was right.”

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