"I love my country, but that doesn't mean I cannot acknowledge that it is not perfect," said the Tampa Bay Lightning's J.T. Brown.
On Saturday night, Brown raised his fist during the anthem in silent protest against social injustice, becoming the first NHL player to join the movement. Not in disrespect of the flag, veterans or our country, but rather the racism and injustice which continues to affect communities of color. He knew the he would receive vicious, hate filled backlash in response to his action, but he was more than willing to accept it, especially as he plays a sport in which there are a limited number of Black players.
Brown took to Twitter to express his feelings, especially his thanks to those who support the message he's conveying.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." -Martin Luther King Jr.
The Lightning player quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, espousing the idea that silence on issues equates to condoning the actions in question. For athletes of color, using their powerful platform to bring attention to the fight against social injustice is something which is sorely needed, especially in the age of Trump.
"I know it may not sit well with everyone," Brown said in his tweet. "But to truly make change in this world, we must be able to be pushed outside of our comfort zone. We can't just stick to the status quo. I want young minorities to see that what they may be going through is not being ignored by the hockey community."
tblightning @JTBrown23 on silent protest: "I know there's going to be negative backlash. But, in my heart, I know I did what was right." https://t.co/iupx0imoP2
And to make things clear, Brown set the record straight about what this protest is about and, more importantly, what it's NOT about.
"I also wanted to reiterate that this is not and has never been about the military or disrespecting the flag. It is about police brutality, racial injustice, and inequality in this country."
But we all know that haters are gonna hate. Fortunately for everyone, people like J.T. Brown aren't afraid to address it head on.