Sports News

Lightning's Brown raises fist during national anthem

Feb 3, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning right wing J.T. Brown (23) skates to the bench after scoring a goal against the Detroit Red Wings during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Tampa Bay forward J.T. Brown raised a closed right fist during the national anthem on Saturday, joining the growing list of professional athletes protesting what they see as a pattern of racism in the treatment of African-Americans by U.S. police.

Brown, the first NHL player to join the protests at a regular-season game, made the same gesture before a pre-season game on Sept. 28, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

The Lightning issued a statement during the game, which they lost 5-4 to Florida.

“The Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate the moment before every game when we can unite as a community, paying homage to a flag that is representative of our nation and those who have sacrificed,” the statement read.

“At the same time, we respect our players and individual choices they may make on social and political issues.”

Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford