Tortorella 'not backing off' national anthem stance

Jamie Sabau / National Hockey League / Getty

John Tortorella is not the type to change his mind.

Though he created quite a stir stating any Team USA player who chooses to sit during the national anthem will be benched, Tortorella affirmed his stance Wednesday on what's quickly evolved into a firestorm.

"I'm not backing off," Tortorella said after USA's practice, according to ESPN's Scott Burnside.

"I'll tell you right now. Try to understand me. I'm not criticizing anybody for stepping up and putting their thoughts out there about things. I'm the furthest thing away from being anything political. No chance I'm involved in that stuff," he added.

Related: Seth Jones has 'no problem' with Tortorella's stance on anthem protesters

Tortorella emphasized he understands an individual's right to express their opinions, but doesn't believe the American anthem or flag needs to be compromised to do so.

"Listen," he said. "We're in a great country because we can express ourselves. And I am not against expressing yourselves. That's what's great about our country. We can do that. But when there are men and women that give their lives for their flag, for their anthem, have given their lives, continue to put themselves on the line with our services for our flag, for our anthem, families that have been disrupted, traumatic physical injuries, traumatic mental injuries. For these people that give us the opportunity to do the things we want to do, there's no chance an anthem and a flag should come into any type of situation where you're trying to make a point."

Tortorella 'not backing off' national anthem stance
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