Team USA Hockey Coach: Anyone Sitting for Anthem Sits for Game

American flag

The head coach of Team USA says that any player of his his who sits during the national anthem then sits for the game that follows.

“If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem,” John Tortorella told ESPN’s Linda Cohn, “they will sit there the rest of the game.”

The remarks come in response to San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick sitting and then taking a knee for “The Star Spangled Banner” during two preseason games. His pregame protests spread to two other NFL players and women’s professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe.

Tortorella, the outspoken coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, ranks as the only U.S.-born coach to reach 1,000 NHL wins.

He coaches Team USA in the World Cup of Hockey. The two-week tournament features teams representing the United States, Canada, Finland, Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Europe, and North America. Team North America features under-23 players from the U.S. and Canada and Team Europe features players from the continent not hailing from the countries represented in the tournament.

The event starts on September 17. A best-of-three series between the two finalists crowns the tournament champion.