Carolina Hurricanes coach Bill Peters cited freedom of speech and player solidarity when asked Monday how he would respond to a players’ protest before games.
Peters, talking to the media in Edmonton, was addressing the unrest and protests in the United States stemming from President Trump’s comments and tweets about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.
“Obviously we have the president involved, and obviously people have their right to their own opinion and freedom of speech,” Peters said. “I think in our league and in our dressing room, in our organization, if guys want to do that, they’d come to me prior and we’d be able to talk about it. I know they’ve talked about it a bit, and it’s solidarity.
“I understand both sides. I don’t think anyone is truly trying to disrespect the flag, to be honest with you. I think people have too much pride in what’s going on in their countries, and they just want to make it better, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
The Hurricanes, who were to play the Oilers in a preseason game Monday, have eight players on their 40-man training camp roster who were born in the United States – defensemen Jaccob Slavin, Justin Faulk, Brett Pesce, Noah Hanifin, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Jake Chelios; and forwards Lee Stempniak and Derek Ryan.
Stephen Curry of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors and Trump have been at odds. Curry said last week he did not want the Warriors to go to the White House to be feted by the president, and Trump quickly replied by tweeting there would be no invitation.
Trump, in a tweet, praised the Stanley Cup winning Pittsburgh Penguins, who have announced they would go to a White House ceremony. “Great team!” he tweeted.