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J.T. Brown

Tampa Bay Lightning forward JT Brown raised his fist during the national anthem

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Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown became the first known NHL player to stage a silent protest during the national anthem.

Brown, who is one of about 30 black players in the NHL, remained standing during the anthem but hoisted a closed fist into the air on Saturday before the Lightning took on the Florida Panthers.

The 27-year-old told the Tampa Bay Times that he talked to his family and multiple active military members before taking any action.

From those discussions, Brown decided he wouldn't follow in the footsteps of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick or many other NFL player who have decided to take a knee for the anthem.

A timeline of the NFL anthem protests
It all began when Colin Kaepernick chose to remain seated.
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"I've been able to see both sides, but I still wanted to show my support for the root of the protest, talking about police brutality and inequality," Brown told the Tampa Bay Times.

Brown said he let his coaches and teammates know what he planned to do before the game.

The Tampa Bay Lightning later issued a statement, saying, "The Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate the moment before every game when we can unite as a community, paying homage to a flag that is representative of our nation and those who have sacrificed. At the same time, we respect our players and individual choices they may make on social and political issues."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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