MandatorySpeech As an American, and a hockey fan,

As an American, and a hockey fan,


  and a fan of the Ottawa Senators, I've been closely following the debate that's going on right now in the 'States about players kneeling during the anthem Evgenii Dadonov Flag.One of the biggest problems I've seen is that standing for the anthem is somehow being construed as the "neutral" approach.As if that's not making a statement.If you're requiring players to be on the ice, or the field, during the anthem, you're requiring them to make a statement of some sort.Previously, standing might have been a neutral statement, a quiet show of respect for institution and tradition that didn't have to have a political stance started to change with Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem. By doing so, he was making a statement that invited some kind of response.He was making a brave statement, one that has cost him million of dollars as he sits unsigned (according to 538 he is the best quarterback in NFL history to not get a deal)But even then, with the vast majority of players still standing, there was some grey area, some wiggle room where you could claim to stand and have it be an uncomplicated sign of respect for the ideals of America if not for it's current politics or political climate.Donald Trump changed this.The perennial egotist, he made it about himself.He made what was a brave if extreme stand by a few athletes trying to make an extreme statement about something affecting their community into a referrendum on himself and his policies.No longer can standing be an unambiguous or neutral statement.You're now saying something.Some athletes have tried to show solidarity with their teammates while continuing to stand during the anthem, as they see it, to respect the institution of the United States.Some have tried to side-step the conversation by staying in the tunnel - though choosing to do so is often being cast as a protest.The hockey season is about to start. The international nature of NHL teams complicates things.I would strongly discourage a player to protest during another country's national anthem - I don't think doing so promotes a healthy discussion and we internationally recognize that there are differences between a person protesting their own country versus protesting another's is a conservative sport.It is white, it tends to be wealthier because of barriers to play.I think that players will tend to stand. But I would encourage American players Anton Forsberg T-Shirt, if they don't whole-heartedly agree with Trump and his policies, to consider some form of speech to show that.It could be kneeling, it could be wearing a headband or something else expressing solidarity with groups combating Trump if they don't, then I worry that I'm going to see a tweet the next morning."Look at these good [white] hockey players.Bobby Ryan and Craig Anderson showing support."And that's not something I want to see.