SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — San Jose Sharks forward Joel Ward says he has decided not to protest by kneeling during the national anthem.

Ward had said he was considering a protest to raise awareness to the issues of racial inequality and excessive force by police against minorities in the United States. But he said Thursday that he doesn’t want the focus to be on the anthem and wants to work on bringing minorities and law enforcement together.

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Ward says he wants to spend more time talking about these issues in the locker room, at kitchen tables and in the community.

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The 36-year-old Ward, one of about 30 black players in the league, is from Canada.

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