Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds said he might kneel for the national anthem when the NHL opens its season next week, according to a report by Philly.com.
Simmonds' declaration comes one day after close friend Joel Ward admitted that he was considering the same thing. Simmonds and Ward are both from Ontario and are two of approximately 30 black players on NHL rosters.
The Flyers open their season against Ward and the Sharks in San Jose on Oct. 4.
"I definitely back Wardo. I know Wardo very well," Simmonds told Philly.com's Sam Carchidi. "What's going on now is a shame. I definitely back his statements. It doesn't mean I'm going to kneel, and it doesn't mean I'm not going to kneel."
"Everybody is relating to politics, but for the people who are doing the kneeling and protesting peacefully, I think it has nothing to do with how (other) people are taking it," Simmonds said. "Some people are saying it's a disrespect to the flag, a disrespect to the Army. That's not the thought process behind it; it's just the vehicle that's being used to create a conversation about social inequality."
Simmonds also said the protests have now transcended racial injustice.
"I don't think it's black and white; at this point, it's about what's wrong and what's right," Simmonds said. "It's not just a black and white thing. It's the LGBT community, it different ethnicity -- black, brown, Asian, all that. It shouldn't just be black and white."