Sharks' Joel Ward Says He Might Kneel for Anthem, Talks Racism in Hockey

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistSeptember 26, 2017

San Jose Sharks right wing Joel Ward lines up against the Arizona Coyotes during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Glendale, Ariz., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Chris Carlson/Associated Press

San Jose Sharks winger Joel Ward said Tuesday he may take part in the wave of athletes silently protesting during the national anthem prior to games.  

Speaking to Paul Gackle of the San Jose Mercury News, Ward said "it's definitely something I wouldn't cross out."

"I've experienced a lot of racism myself in hockey and on a day-to-day occurrence," he said. "I haven't really sat down to think about it too much yet, but I definitely wouldn't say no to it."

Ward, who was born in Ontario, Canada, said he's dealt with racism in his home country and the United States. 

"I've dealt with it on both sides (of the border)," Ward told Gackle. "It's just about standing up for what's right."

According to Gackle, Ward is one of about 30 black players currently in the NHL. Ward stressed demonstrations like those seen in in the NFL over the weekend are not about disrespect: 

"It's just been part of life that you always have to deal with, so when people get into [Colin] Kaepernick and some of these other guys, saying that they're disrespecting the flag, it's not about just that. It's about creating awareness about what people, like myself, go through on a day-to-day basis, whether it's going to the mall or whatever."

Many NFL teams demonstrated during the national anthem Sunday in response to President Donald Trump's comments encouraging team owners to fire any player who kneels in protest during the anthem.

Ward is entering his third season with the Sharks, who open the 2017-18 on Oct. 4 at home against the Philadelphia Flyers