Willie Mitchell offers to sponsor Vancouver Island teen 'muzzled' by soccer team
Soccer association tells mother and 14-year-old goalie to stay quiet or find another team
An NHL star, originally from B.C., has stepped up to support a Vancouver Island teen who was "muzzled" after she spoke out against one of her soccer team's sponsors.
The captain of the Florida Panthers, Willie Mitchell, tweeted on Friday night he would sponsor 14-year-old Freyja Reed after she was told to stop protesting about the fish farming company who sponsors her soccer league.
Mitchell called Reed's case "outrageous" and said the ability to "speak up for what we believe in" is reason why it's a "privilege" to live in North America.
So outrageous! Youth being bullied about her opinion-one shared by legislators & business leaders. RT to support. <a href="https://t.co/bT4yA2GEwH">https://t.co/bT4yA2GEwH</a>—@Willie_Mitch33
The ability to speak up for what we believe in is why we are so privileged to live in N.A. Freyja Reed I will sponsor you! <a href="https://twitter.com/cbcnewsbc">@cbcnewsbc</a>—@Willie_Mitch33
The hockey player, originally from Vancouver Island, is known for his interests in wildlife conservation.
Anissa Reed, Freyja's mother, said Mitchell has already taken the first step to follow through on his tweet — her daughter heard from him via a Facebook message on Saturday.
"Willie Mitchell is an awesome guy, a stand-up guy. A reflection of the B.C. coast for how he stands up for wild salmon and how he's reaching out as a professional athlete," said Reed.
While she hopes the league will take him up on his offer, she knows there are other factors at play.
"Anybody, would be honoured to have him as a sponsor," said Reid. "I would say yes, yes that's awesome, but that's not my decision to make."
With files from Duncan McCue