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Lightning on Brown's protest: We respect our players' individual choices

Scott Audette / National Hockey League / Getty

Warning: Post contains coarse language

J.T. Brown's team says it doesn't have a problem with the silent protest he made during the national anthem.

"The Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate the moment before every game when we can unite as a community, paying homage to a flag that is representative of our nation and those who have sacrificed," the club said in a statement Saturday night, according to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.

"At the same time, we respect our players and individual choices they may make on social and political issues."

Brown raised his fist while standing with his teammates as "The Star-Spangled Banner" was performed Saturday night before the Lightning faced the Florida Panthers.

He became the first NHL player to protest police brutality and racial injustice during the anthem this season, joining countless NFL players and other athletes who've followed Colin Kaepernick's lead.

Several black NHLers, including P.K. Subban, Wayne Simmonds, Joel Ward, and Ryan Reaves, have weighed in on the protests as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins' decision to visit the White House and President Donald Trump, who referred to any player who protests during the anthem as a "son of a bitch."

Lightning on Brown's protest: We respect our players' individual choices
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