Washington Capitals weigh in on National Anthem debate

Going deep into the playoffs is on many minds, but when the National Anthem plays for the first regular season game, will Caps players stand, kneel or protest in some way?

ARLINGTON, VA (WUSA9) - The Capitals season will get under way Thursday.

Going deep into the playoffs is on many minds, but when the National Anthem plays for the first regular season game, will Caps players stand, kneel or protest in some way?

WUSA9 talked to some players and head coach Barry Trotz at media day Tuesday at Kettler Iceplex, their practice facility.

A year after former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the anthem to protest in support of racial equality, the gesture has spread to other teams and sports.

OPINION: Kneeling during the National Anthem is as American as it gets

New Caps right winger Devante Smith-Pelly, who is a person of color, said it's about equality and treating everyone the same.

"The protest is happening during the National Anthem but we're trying to get to a point where it's not about the National Anthem, it's about equality and justice, people that look like me not being treated equal," he said.

Smith-Pelly told WUSA9 he's not sure whether he will stand for the anthem come Thursday.

Fellow right winger T.J. Oshie will not be protesting.

"I think each person has a right and the freedom if that's what they want to do. I'm 100% fine with that. For me personally, I'll keep standing because that's what I was always taught. I think for me that's a respectful thing to do for the flag," Oshie said.

RELATED: Washington Redskins lock arms in national protest

Head Coach Barry Trotz said he will always support his players.

"Our country is about having the ability to say certain things, to stand up and voice an opinion," Trotz said. "You can't do that in other countries. Some other countries there's severe ramifications for that. Every player in the league understands they're to honor the flag. I have military friends. They do too, but I think what we're trying to say is we want this fixed in our country. We're making it known and we hope our country and leaders of our country will start doing something about it."

 

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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