J.T. Brown said first protest already sparked action plan
Lightning wing J.T. Brown said part of the reason he will no longer raise his fist during the national anthem is because his first silent protest has already sparked an action plan.
The protest got him connected with the Tampa Police Department, and after consulting with Bucs legend Derrick Brooks, Brown figured out the best way to create change locally.
"I think the one time, obviously it rose awareness for it, but at the same time, we were also able to get something from there, to be put in positions already speaking with the police chief, formulating a plan and having an action plan," Brown said. "That was enough. And who knows if we weren't in that situation, who knows what would have happened? I'm thankful for the organization and the support that they gave me."
Brown stressed that he got a lot of support from the Lightning, from ownership on down to help put him in situations to help. Brooks, known for his many philanthropic efforts in the Tampa Bay community, offered to meet up with Brown, the two talking in his Amalie Arena office last week.
"We're all in this together," Brooks told the Times. "I mostly wanted to listen and be a sounding board. I'm just that other young athletes want to be involved and are passionate. Not just wanting to help but actually doing it."
When asked what he thought of Brown and others doing a silent protest, Brooks was pretty clear. "Anyone who knows me I'm all about boots on the ground. I work with these men on action plan."
Brown didn't say whether the Lightning wanted him to stop the protest, but it's safe to say they encouraged him to get involved in other ways.
"Everybody has their own opinions on it," Brown said. "But at the same time the issue is something we need to talk about. (The Lightning) is here to support, help me tell the story the way I want it to be told, to be able to help me get in situations where I can positively effect change."
Brown hasn't played since the Oct. 7 protest, and is expected to be a healthy scratch tonight in Columbus. The team has gone with 11 forwards the past five games, going 4-0-1 over that stretch.