USA TODAY US Edition - - SPORTS - — Scott Glee­son

San Jose Sharks for­ward Joel Ward said Thurs­day that he will not kneel dur­ing the na­tional an­them, ra­tion­al­iz­ing that he wants to fo­cus on “mov­ing progress for­ward” out­side the hockey arena. Ward, a Cana­dian and one of about 20 black play­ers in the NHL, tweeted a thor­ough mes­sage ex­plain­ing his rea­son­ing. He said: “Al­though I fully support those who be­fore me have taken the lead in bring­ing aware­ness to these is­sues, I will not kneel dur­ing the na­tional an­them like my broth­ers have done. Let our col­lec­tive fo­cus be on bridg­ing the gap be­tween com­mu­ni­ties — on work­ing to heal gen­er­a­tions of un­equal treat­ment of peo­ple of color in the United States of Amer­ica — and not turn­ing our backs on that which is hard to face head on.” Un­til Ward, no NHL player had dis­cussed pub­licly that he might take a knee dur- ing the an­them. Ward had the support of his coach and the en­tire Sharks or­ga­ni­za­tion.

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