John Tortorella Softens Stance On National Anthem Protests, Says He’d Discuss It With Players

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David Hookstead Sports And Entertainment Editor
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Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella has changed his views on national anthem protests in a big way.

Tortorella famously said he’d bench any Team USA players who kneeled or didn’t stand during the national anthem back in 2016 when it was a hot topic. Now, it sounds like the NHL coach is softening his views on the issue, and is open to discussing it with players who want to take a knee. (RELATED: David Hookstead Is The True King In The North When It Comes To College Football)

Tortorella, whose son is in the military, told The Athletic the following about his shifting views on the issue, according to The New York Post:

When I stand for the flag and the national anthem, my reflection is solely on the men and women who have given their lives defending our country and constitution and freedom, along with those who are serving today. I have learned over the years, listening and watching, that men and women who choose to kneel during this time mean no disrespect toward the flag…I would hope that if one of my players wanted to protest during the anthem, he would bring it to me and we would talk about it, tell me his thoughts and what he wanted to do. From there, we would bring it to the team to discuss it, much like it’s being discussed in our country right now.

I think you’re going to see a lot of coaches say things like this moving forward. After the backlash Drew Brees was subjected to, I don’t think you’ll too many people support standing during the national anthem.


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In 2020, standing for the anthem and thinking kneeling is disrespectful is a great way to get attacked by the mob.

It’s an outstanding way for the mob to ruin your life. Drew Brees had to issue two apologies! Not just one! He had to issue two.


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Why would anyone speak their opinion or give unfiltered thoughts on anthem protesting if they think it’s going to result in them getting hammered?

I honestly don’t think you’ll see a single coach hold the line. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. When a guy like Tortorella, a legendary tough guy in hockey, backs down. It’s more or less over.