While NFL players, coaches and owners largely banded together Sunday in support of peaceful protest during the national anthem, another weekend staple, NASCAR, took a much different approach.
Two NASCAR team owners — Richard Childress and Richard Petty — warned employees that any anthem demonstration would result in discipline, while NASCAR itself released an ambiguous statement Monday trumpeting both the pre-race ceremony and “the right to peacefully express one’s opinion.”
The full release is below:
“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.”
President Donald Trump ignited this firestorm Friday at a rally in Alabama calling NFL players who peacefully protest during the national anthem “son of a b—” who should be fired.
Early Monday, Trump praised NASCAR and its fans on Twitter.
So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans. They won’t put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag – they said it loud and clear!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s 14-time most popular driver, responded less than 30 minutes later in support of peaceful protest.
All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable-JFK
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) September 25, 2017