Tampa Bay Lightning's J.T. Brown Has Received Death Threats For Raising His Fist During The National Anthem
Sadly, I can't say that I'm surprised by the following display of racism, ignorance, and cowardice (and undoubtedly the countless others like it) made towards an NHL player whose gesture served as nothing more than a reminder that he is both a proud African American and a professional hockey player...
While I think it's counterproductive to rank which professional athletes have risked the most by peacefully protesting racial inequality, if - and only if - I were to do so then J.T. Brown's name would probably fall behind Colin Kaepernick's at the top of the list. That may seem silly since his gesture was harmlessly made from the oh-so-important standing position. However, the fringe 4th liner whose job security was already questionable basically guaranteed he'd draw the ire of a audience that consistently jumps to conclusions while having no idea what the fuck they are watching once he decided to raise his fist.
As a diehard hockey fan, I can confidently say that no other sport is as frequently misunderstood by those that are the most highly invested in it, so I'm not going to act stunned that some of those people can't tell the difference between hating this country and wanting better for it. I mean, some of the quacks that considered a raised fist a showing of disrespect to America are probably the same fucking losers repeatedly screaming "SHOOT IT!" for two straight minutes during every goddamn power play. In fact, while I pissed about 50 ounces of Canadian beer during the National Anthem at the Devils' home opener on Saturday, I would venture to guess there was at least one person that didn't see the irony in being a J.T. Brown critic while emptying his bladder into an adjacent urinal. It took all of one period and a single turnover for someone seated behind me to call into question the six year, market value contract paid to a 22 year old first pairing defenseman, so excuse me if I'm a little wary of the average hockey fan's ability to judge inherently unfair treatment in a rational manner.
Simply put - due to the self important, "experience the game how I experience it or leave" culture surrounding hockey - protests (of any nature, really) and pucks do not go together. Look no further than the Pittsburgh Penguins decision to accept an invite to the White House on the same day that the rest of the sports world was collectively shunning the Presidency for proof of that. That's why I respect the hell out of J.T. Brown. Not only did he go with his heart, but he did so knowing damn well it would result in idiots calling for his head.