EL SEGUNDO (CBSLA.com) — The controversy over San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his refusal to stand for the national anthem is a hot topic Wednesday on the ice at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo.

John Tortorella, Team USA’s head coach, has he will bench any player who doesn’t stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” when the team plays in the World Cup of Hockey next week.

“To disrespect our flag and anthem, they would not play,” Tortorella told ESPN.

During a busy practice night for LA Junior Kings players, opinions about Tortorella’s statement varied.

“It’s personal because his son is an Army ranger, but for him to impose his personal feelings for everyone, I don’t think it’s right,” said Z Jamani. “I think it goes against what the U.S. stands for.”

Other parents of young hockey players had mixed reactions.

“Because the world is looking at you and to have people not representing and being unified, I think that’s a problem,” said Kate Hirsch. “So, by a coach telling them that, I think that’s fair.”

The whole controversy started after Kaepernick chose to sit, then kneel, for the national anthem during NFL preseason games. Parents who spoke to CBS2 News said the controversy has helped people stand up for what they believe in.

“You’re an American, you have these freedoms, you can choose what you want to do,” said Hirsch.

“It’s raised conversation everywhere,” added Jamani. “You hear it on all the sports radio, the news stations, it’s a great conversation that he’s bringing to the surface.”


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