Winnipeg Jets' Jacob Trouba on Trump: I hope 'young kids don't look up to that'

Unlike the NFL and the NBA, the NHL has not seen much reaction to President Donald Trump's recent foray into protests for social justice during pregame national anthems.

A pair of Winnipeg Jets threw their support behind teammate Blake Wheeler when asked about the president's calls to "fire" players who kneel during the anthem or enact rules that prohibit kneeling in protest.

Before Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins promised to uphold the tradition of visiting the White House as a championship team, something the NBA's Golden State Warriors will not do after Trump rescinded his invitation to an outspoken Stephen Curry, Wheeler responded to the president's NFL-directed comments Saturday, tweeting, "Come on, Mr. President," and suggesting Trump had attacked "literally the principles the U.S. was founded on" -- freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.

In speaking with reporters Monday, the Jets' Jacob Trouba and Matt Hendricks said they support Wheeler's comments.

"I support what he said," said Trouba, a former ninth overall draft pick, as documented by Dave Minuk via TSN 1290. "It's tough and an interesting time in America right now, but it's important that people talk about it. It's not easy to take a stand, but it's important to take a stand. For me, it just comes down to the respect aspect, and I think a lot of things [Trump]'s done is very disrespectful to a lot of different people on a lot of different levels. It takes a lot of courage to stand up to that, so I think it's courageous what Blake did and what a lot of athletes are doing."

Trouba, a regular on defense for the Jets since 2013-14, said he also isn't a fan of the way Trump targeted athletes in his Friday comments about NFL players who kneel to protest social injustice.

"To call football players son of a [explicit] and 'privileged,' I don't think any athlete really agrees with that," Wheeler said. "It's tough to say that about people. That's not someone I like looking up to. I hope a lot of young kids don't look up to that and treat people that way."

Hendricks, who signed with Winnipeg over the summer after 10 seasons between the Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals, Nashville Predators and Edmonton Oilers, suggested he would not personally kneel during a national anthem but supports Wheeler's defense of players' right to protest.

"Yeah, I would support teammates who take a knee," Hendricks said. "It's not just the flag. That's not the issue for the others that choose to take a knee. It's a different reason, so I understand that."

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