nhl kneeling

People are upset NHL players aren't kneeling during national anthem

Now that hockey is back in Canada, there's a new topic swirling around social media: kneeling. At all three exhibition games on Tuesday, not a single hockey player took a knee during the national anthems, which has sparked contentious debate.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the first sports player to kneel during the national anthem in 2016 when he took a knee to protest systemic police brutality against Black Americans.

Now, kneeling is commonly associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, with thousands of Canadians across the country recently taking a knee as part of anti-racism protests — including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

This week, NHL players have remained standing during the national anthems with some locking arms.

Not everyone is upset that NHL players aren't kneeling; some people are arguing that taking a knee disrespects the Canadian and American flags or that it's an empty gesture.

"Kneeling is just a symbolic gesture," one Toronto resident wrote. "It doesn't do anything to fix the problems."

"Don't say the NHL needs to do more just because they aren't kneeling," another Toronto resident wrote. "Kneel or don't, action outside of the game and off the ice is what matters most."

Even Eric Trump, son of the U.S. President, weighed in on the NHL debate, making his anti-kneeling sentiments clear.

However, many people are also arguing that kneeling is a powerful way to show solidarity and support for historically marginalized groups including Black Canadians and people of colour.

"I kneel for hockey because I want the NHL to act on their words," a Toronto resident wrote, sharing a picture of themselves kneeling. "Because I want its players to use their voice."

"The first NHL player to kneel during the anthem gets my unending support for the rest of my days," a P.E.I. resident wrote.

Unlike the NHL, NBA and MLB players kneeled before or during the national anthem for their season restarts.

According to the National Hockey League Players' Association, NHL players are free to kneel, raise their fist or display forms of peaceful protest during a game.

"There are no restrictions in place," the NHLPA reportedly said. "Players are free to do what they would like to do."

Lead photo by

Dallas Stars

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