Despite many of NASCAR’s team owners and executives saying they disprove of anthem protests, one of the sport’s most prominent and popular drivers is supporting the right to protest.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted in support with athletes who, by kneeling, sitting or in another form, have protested during the national anthem before games in support of social and racial equality.
“All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests. Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable-JFK,” he tweeted Monday.
Earnhardt’s tweet came after President Donald Trump tweeted praise for there being no protests during the national anthem at the ISM Connect 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sunday.
The Associated Press reported that a number of NASCAR’s team owners and leaders spoke out against protesting.
“Anybody that don’t stand up for the anthem oughta be out of the country. Period,” Hall of Fame driver Richard Petty said. “What got ’em where they’re at? The United States.”
Petty responded, “You’re right,” when asked if a team member protesting would get them fired.
Richard Childress, who was a long time team owner for Eardnhardt, said protesting isn’t respectful.
“It’ll get you a ride on a Greyhound bus.”
“(A)nybody that works for me should respect the country we live in,” Childress said. “So many people gave their lives for it. This is America.”
NASCAR itself issued a statement Monday about the protests, saying, “Sports are a unifying influence in our society, bringing people of differing backgrounds and beliefs together. Our respect for the national anthem has always been a hallmark of our pre-race events. Thanks to the sacrifices of many, we live in a country of unparalleled freedoms and countless liberties, including the right to peacefully express one’s opinion.”