Bettman: Fans don't want 'evening of politics,' but I respect choices

by
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Hockey is a great escape from the world of politics, at least according to Gary Bettman.

Following a weekend in which a series of player protests highlighted the NFL schedule, the NHL's commissioner said he doesn't personally believe the displays would be well received in hockey.

"I think fans come to see the games and watch the great things our athletes do," Bettman told Sportsnet's Ken Reid. "I'm not sure they want to come for an evening of politics.

"But in the final analysis, I have great respect for our players. Ultimately, there are individual choices people have to make, and you respect them."

Bettman's remarks came after U.S. President Donald Trump stated that NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem, a comment that drew plenty more protests from players on Sunday.

Related: Penguins still plan to visit White House; support rights of others to protest

Bettman, however, doesn't believe the issue will move into hockey.

"I love the fact that we play the anthems and our players have respected them," he said.