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John Tortorella would bench players who sit during national anthem
0:44 | NHL
John Tortorella would bench players who sit during national anthem
Wednesday September 7th, 2016

Ahead of the World Cup of Hockey, Team USA head coach John Tortorella says he may not allow players to protest during the national anthem by sitting, he told ESPN's Linda Cohn on Tuesday.

"If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game." Tortorella said.

The warning comes after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has decided not to stand for the national anthem during the preseason in protest of racial inequalities and injustices taking place in America, including police-related violence. U.S. women's soccer player Megan Rapinoe has also joined in the protest.

Earlier in the week, Tortorella spoke about the honor of coaching the American entry at the World Cup, saying "It is hockey, but I also think it is a huge platform for us to represent our country, especially in today’s world, with everything is going on." 

Tortorella’s son Nick in an Army Ranger and is currently deployed, causing him to change his language, pledging to no longer refer to hockey games as "wars" or "battles."

• Support for Colin Kaepernick and his message flourishes

The United States will play an exhibition game against Canada on Friday in Columbus, Ohio.

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