Team USA hockey coach John Tortorella doubled down on his decision to bench anybody on the team who sits during the national anthem.
The outspoken coach had previously said, “If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game.” (RELATED: Team USA Hockey Coach Says He Will Bench Any Player That Sits During National Anthem)
He dug in deeper and explained his decision to the media on Wednesday.
He told the media:
Listen. 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.
It is probably the most disrespectful thing you can do as a U.S. citizen is to bring that in. Because that’s our symbol. All for [expressing] yourself. That’s what’s so great. Everybody does. But no chance when it comes to the flag and the anthem. No chance.
Not everybody is happy with Tortorella’s stance, and ESPN pundit Stephen A. Smith has called for him to be fired. (RELATED: ESPN Pundit: USA Coach Should Be Fired For Saying He’d Bench Players Who Sit During Anthem [VIDEO])
It doesn’t look like it’d be a wise decision for any player to test Tortorella because he clearly isn’t messing around.