SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Sharks forward Joel Ward tells The Mercury News he might take a knee during the national anthem at an upcoming game, becoming the first NHL player to join the protests that started in the NFL and drew criticism from President Donald Trump.
The 36-year-old Ward, one of about 30 black players in the league, is from Canada. Asked by the newspaper if he would consider kneeling during the anthem, Ward says “it’s definitely something I wouldn’t cross out.”
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem in the preseason a year ago to make a statement about social inequality and police treatment of blacks in the United States. More than 200 NFL players knelt or sat during Sunday’s anthems in the wake of Trump’s suggestion that NFL owners fire players who protest during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Sharks coach Pete DeBoer says he would back Ward if he decides to take a knee this season. Ward says general manager Doug Wilson also was supportive.