NASCAR releases ambiguous statement addressing national anthem protests – Sporting News

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.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s 14-time most popular driver, responded less than 30 minutes later in support of peaceful protest.

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