According to a report from Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports, Subban told an audience during a comedy fundraiser at a club in Nashville, Tenn., Tuesday night that he would “never” kneel during the Star-Spangled Banner, instead choosing to continue to “stand, respect, and sing along” to it.
Subban’s comments were sent to Yahoo! Sports by several attendees of the fundraiser. There were no audio or video recording devices allowed during the event, which was headlined by Ryan Hamilton, but the Predators organization confirmed Subban’s comments, per Wyshynski.
Earlier on Tuesday, Predators brass announced the team decided as a whole they will stand during the anthem when it plays prior to their games.
“We met as a group [Tuesday], and our decision is we’re going to stand for the national anthem out of respect for the anthem, for our country, for the people who serve for our country,” head coach Peter Laviolette said via The Tennessean. “That’s what we talked about, and that’s where we’re at. I also understand that there’s a freedom of speech. We totally respect that. Everybody has a different opinion. For us internally, if there’s anything that we can do to send positive messages throughout the country in any way, that would be a good thing.”
Added Predators president Sean Henry: “When this all came about, we wanted to get together with our team because everything we do is collaborative. When we say what we’re going to be doing, it really is a ‘we.’ Everyone had input on it. We are honouring the anthem and the flag and the country by standing during the anthem. We invite our fans to do so with us.
“It is also our way of honouring what else it stands for, and it does provide for the freedom for others to express their views and protests in a manner in which they feel comfortable doing. We just think there’s proper forums for all. Our games have become this unifying celebration, so we have decided that we’re all going to stand together to honour the country and all that comes with it.”
Approximately 200 NFL players knelt, sat or raised their fists during the U.S. anthem this past Sunday in response to President Donald Trump’s recent comments and tweets suggesting players who refuse to stand for the anthem should be fined or suspended.
This type of protest has yet to cross into the hockey world, although San Jose Sharks forward Joel Ward said Tuesday he would consider taking a knee during the anthem.
The reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins announced over the weekend the team accepted President Trump’s invitation to the White House just like they did in 2009 and 2016 when Barack Obama was president.