Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Henderson Would Look to Team Captain for Guidance on White House Visit

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Henderson Would Look to Team Captain for Guidance on White House Visit

Article excerpt

Henderson weighs in on sports and politics

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TORONTO - If retired hockey great Paul Henderson were invited to the White House after winning a championship, he'd look to his teammate wearing the 'C' to make the call on attendance plans.

"Well I was a team player. I think if the captain said we were going -- it may not be my choice -- but if the captain says we're going, I'd probably go," Henderson said Thursday. "If the captain said we weren't going to go, then I probably wouldn't go."

Much criticism has been volleyed at the reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in recent days for their decision to attend the traditional ceremony with the U.S. president. Captain Sidney Crosby has also caught some heat for supporting his team's choice.

It's one of many hot-button issues permeating leagues around the continent of late with sports, politics and protests forming a heated stew that's showing no signs of abating.

President Donald Trump hasn't minced words with his criticism of the NFL, players and team owners for athletes kneeling during the national anthem before games. The NBA champion Golden State Warriors were invited to the White House, but Trump rescinded the invitation after star guard Stephen Curry indicated he wouldn't attend.

Protesting during the anthem has become a divisive issue since then-San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the movement last year. He refused to stand to protest police brutality and racial inequality in the United States.

San Jose Sharks forward Joel Ward -- one of about 30 black players in the NHL -- had considered a protest but said Thursday that he will not kneel during the anthem.

The intersection of sports and politics was a talking point as Henderson held an availability after participating in a children's book launch at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"We live in a society where there's freedom of choice and so people make choices about things," Henderson said. "So a person can do what they want to do and that's the great thing about it. …

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