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Auston Matthews: Kneeling During Anthem A Dishonor To Those Who ‘Fight For That Flag’
If you expect some NHL players to kneel during the Anthem this year, you can count Auston Matthews out right now—although, he doesn’t have an issue with anybody else who has done it or might do it in the future.
The Toronto Maple Leafs star explained recently to reporters how kneeling during the “The Star-Spangled Banner” dishonors everyone who fought for the flag.
“My great uncle served (and) I have friends (and) family (and other) people (who) have served,” he told reporters Monday, via TSN. “(They’re) men and women who have risked their lives and died for the United States, so I don’t know if kneeling, sitting, (or) stretching is really something I’d look into doing because it’s … like a dishonor to the men and women (who) fight for that flag (and) fight for the U.S., so I don’t think I’d be one of the people who’d take part in that.”
Matthews wanted to make it real clear that he respects people’s freedom of speech. He says they have the right to kneel, just like he has the right to not kneel during the anthem.
“Isn’t that one of the amendments? You have the right to say whatever you want, so obviously people have taken this time to send a message or make a statement and that’s their opinion. They have the right to do that, so good for them,” he said.
On Friday, Donald Trump sparked up some controversy during a rally in Alabama, referring to kneeling pro football players as ‘sons of bitches,’ and suggesting they should be fired from the league.
Every single team in the league that played over the weekend had at least one player participate in some type of protest in response to those comments from the President.
The Pittsburgh Penguins made it a point to announce their intentions of going to the White House after Trump withdrew his invitation from the Golden State Warriors. Matthews understood why they did it, and would likely go himself if the Leafs were invited.
“Everybody’s got their own opinion on stuff (and) they have a right to do whatever they want, but obviously the Penguins made a statement (that) they’re going … it’s been a tradition in the past (and) it’s a pretty big honor,” Matthews said.
“I think it’s something that if we were in the position, that’s the position we’d like to be in, but I think we’d probably go.”