In the US there have been a lot of controversy during the last week in regards to NFL-quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his sit down protest during the national anthem, and now the discussion have reached the NHL in regards to World Cup of Hockey.

The NHL got onto the discussion-list when Team USA head coach John Tortorella was asked about the whole Kaepernick-protest and told the ESPN-reporter Linda Cohen that:

“If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game.”

So much for “freedom of speech” and “the land of the free” I guess..

It got the discussion to light fire among the media to and the fans of the NHL, as portrayed in Sportsnet’s Joe Packs article where Brian Burke also speaks about his opinion on the matter.

Sportsnet writer Joe Pack – Tortorella will sit anthem protests players on Team USA

This was just the opening post on the matter, as several sports personalities decided to pinch in their opinions on the matter. Team Canada head coach Mike Babcock pretty much dismissed the whole thing as something he didn’t have to worry about, as the issue didn’t seem to be of similar statue in Canada.

Sportsnet – Team Canada head coach Mike Babcock’s response to anthem issue

The Hockey News-writer Ken Campbell wrote a piece on how the NHL could avoid the whole situation by not going about it as they have in the past, and instead change how things are done in the ceremonial process before and after the game.

But the real point is, this shouldn’t even be a debate. Why do we even have national anthems played before hockey games anyway?

The Hockey News writer Ken Campbell – NHL could avoid controversy by not playing national anthem

Which of course, is something he has commented on before:

The whole situation continued to rage on for a while on websites, newspapers, messeageboards and forums with hardcore fans talking about it being a tradition and if you can’t stand still, listen to the anthem while honoring the flag and respect the tradition, you shouldn’t play and leave the country alltogether.

It even got to the point where ESPN sports personality Stephen A. Smith who’s more an expert on the NBA and NFL felt he had to comment against Tortorella’s comments.

“He should be stripped of his duties and he shouldn’t be allowed to represent the United States of America. The flag also respresents the right not to”

Tradition. A word that comes back to from the fans as a boomerang in return. Well, lets look a little at tradition?

  1. This tournament has no real tradition. How about making changes in the new era?
  2. Let’s upprehend that tradition of playing “grueling” superstar-tournaments in the pre-season with no real meaning shall we? Oops…
  3. Previous NHL-owners had a tradition of using players love for the game to keep their salaries down and profit up.
  4. It was a tradition among the NHL-owners to oppress any attempt to form an NHLPA by the players for decades.
  5. It was a tradition to not have a salary cap.
  6. “Hockey Night in Canada” and its intro theme used to be a tradition.
  7. If the NHL worried too much about tradition, wouldn’t they have had more teams located in hockey’s “motherland” Canada?

Pro Hockey News – Net Worth : Exploding the Myths of Hockey

Now it seems that the NHL have decided to go on with the same process in terms of game preperations and playing of the national anthems before games. With one exeption of course, not Team Europe’s anthem (for obvious reasons).

THe Hockey Writers Brandon Share-Cohen – National Anthems to be played ahead of World Cup of Hockey games

When all those non-fans and fans talk about tradition, they always speak about the anthem and the history of the flag. That’s what we stand for. But, shouldn’t one stand for what the flag (and anthem) means today? And it should always be about what it means today first, because if it hadn’t.

We would still have slavery today, we would still have a lack of rules for equal rights for all, and we wouldn’t have any progress in any of those areas, because they wouldn’t have been able to fight the opinons of today, when anthem and flag only represents yesterday and history. That’s the issue between Kaepernick and a lot of fans. Point of view.

If you deep down truly think about it and look at the flag of your nation today…
Would you support your current state in your contry and stand for what todays society represents in that flag & your anthem?

Or would you sit?

Now, I am on Brian Burke’s side in terms of that political issues shouldn’t be a thing directly in sporting events. Sports shouldn’t be politics, it should be fun & competition.