Joel Ward is not going to kneel for the national anthem. The San Jose Sharks forward posted a lengthy statement to Twitter on Thursday afternoon to explain his decision. Ward, one of about 30 black players in the NHL, previously told reporters he "wouldn't cross out" joining a movement that has swept the NFL. "I hold an immense amount of respect for the many players - across the sporting world - that have chosen to peacefully bring attention to a couple of big issues in today's society, which are inequality and the use of excessive force against people of color in the United States of America," Ward wrote in his statement. "Make no mistake that racism exists and that people of color are treated differently on a day-to-day basis." Ward wrote he felt "the original message that was trying to be communicated had been lost," as many have confused kneeling during the anthem as a protest of the flag or military. The 36-year-old Ward was born in Canada; his parents are immigrants from the Barbados. Earlier this week, Ward told The Mercury News that he had long conversations with his GM, Doug Wilson, who was open to listening and offered support in whatever the forward decided to do. Sharks coach Pete DeBoer reiterated his support for Ward, telling the newspaper: "I'm a big freedom of speech guy. Everyone has the right to message how they want to."
Sharks' Joel Ward decides not to kneel for anthem, citing lost message
ESPN | Sep 28