During a White House press conference, President Trump took time to address backlash over his comments during a campaign rally in Alabama, during which he referred to NFL players who knelt during the national anthem in protest as “SOBs”.
San Jose Sharks forward Joel Ward said that he hasn’t ruled out taking a knee during the national anthem.
Ward, a Canadian and one of only about 25 black players in the NHL, told The Mercury Newsthat his own experience with racism throughout his life makes the comments from President Trump all the more unsettling.
“I’ve experienced a lot of racism myself in hockey and on a day-to-day occurrence,” Ward said. “I haven’t really sat down to think about it too much yet, but I definitely wouldn’t say no to it.”
Until Ward, no NHL player had discussed publicly that he might take a knee during the anthem. No players have taken a knee during the current preseason slate.
The NHL did not respond to USA TODAY Sports on Monday when asked about what rules the league had in place regarding the anthem. The NHL did not immediately respond to messages regarding a potential protest by Ward or other players Tuesday night.
“The San Jose Sharks deeply respect each individual’s Constitutional right to freedom of speech and personal expression,” the Sharks said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports.
Ward said he has experienced racism all throughout his hockey career and he has been racially profiled by police.
“I’ve dealt with it a lot. I’ve had a few things that have happened to me that you could say are not the norm,” he said. “I’ve been singled out at different events. I’ve been pulled over. I’ve dealt with racism right to my face.
“It’s just been part of life that you always have to deal with, so when people get into (Colin) Kaepernick and some of these other guys, saying that they’re disrespecting the flag, it’s not about just that. It’s about creating awareness about what people, like myself, go through on a day-to-day basis, whether it’s going to the mall or whatever.”
Ward, who wears No. 42 to honor Jackie Robinson, will have the support of his coach…