Lightning forward J.T. Brown won't raise fist during anthem again

TAMPA BAY, FL (USA TODAY) - Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown said Wednesday he will no longer raise his fist during the national anthem as he did before a game earlier this month.

"I am done raising my first,” Brown wrote on Twitter. "I am now using this support, opportunity and platform to call out everyone who agreed or disagreed with me to help by sharing suggestions, continuing respectful conversations and looking for ways they too can help make a difference in their community."

Brown, one of about 30 black players in the NHL, raised his first during The Star-Spangled Banner as Tampa Bay faced the Florida Panthers on Oct. 7. He was the first NHL player protest during the anthem, actions that started last season in the NFL to call attention to racial inequality and police brutality.

USA TODAY Sports previously reported that the NHL has no rules that govern player conduct during anthems. Brown, a fourth-line player, has been scratched in six games this season.

Brown has talked with the Tampa Bay police and said he would do ride-alongs with the department. He also said he’d donate 600 tickets to Bigs in Blue — a program run by the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America that features officers as mentors —  and be committed to “getting involved” in other community initiatives. 

“Together we can help teach these kids valuable life lessons,” Brown wrote. “I will also continue to explore new ways to get involved in the community to help build bridges and create rewarding relationships. I understand that his issue cannot be resolved overnight, nor can I do it alone.”

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