While athletes from both baseball and basketball expressed solidarity with their brothers in the National Football League on the issue of refusing to stand for the national anthem, one sport said political demonstrations would not be tolerated by its members. NASCAR–where the vast majority of owners, drivers, and fans are white–made it clear they do not agree with such protests.
Several NASCAR team owners said not standing during the national anthem would “get you a ride on a Greyhound bus,” in the words of Richard Childress, who added:
“Anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people gave their lives for it. This is America.”
Mr. Trump was delighted to hear that, tweeting out:
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
But now one of NASCAR’s biggest stars, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., is going against his sport and letting it be known that he thinks everyone has the right to express their opinion. Monday morning, Earnhardt posted this on social media:
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
How exactly is the American flag or what it represents insulted or defamed when a person chooses not to stand? Isn’t this the very kind of freedom of expression which is enshrined in the Constitution? As Earnhardt rightly notes, we have all been granted the right to disagree, to dissent, to do as we wish as long as we don’t directly harm another person. That is the very essence of freedom.
The tweet from Earnhardt drew both praise and criticism:
I am thankful as a white privileged dude I’ve never had to protest anything that infringed my civil rights. Some lack this foresight.
— Druphis (@druphis) September 25, 2017
I’m all for peaceful protesting but what does millionaires taking a knee help..go into the communities & educate & help out..does more good
— Jaime Szymanski (@JSki521) September 25, 2017
Yup. Let’s go full speed towards fascism by making displays to patriotic symbols a requirement for employment like Dear Leader demands.
— Cary Len (@CaryLen) September 25, 2017
Don’t disagree, but should be done on your own time, not while working. Shouldn’t force your views down customers’ throats.
— Justin Finamore (@finster77nc) September 25, 2017
Not honoring the flag is direspectful. Kennedy wouldn’t tolerat kneeling not respecting the flag. Both my boys serve and protect you .
— eric (@EricEricremrich) September 25, 2017
Bullshit… the military community has already came out supporting the rights to protest. You disrespect us by trying to squash them.
— Patricia Kelly Adams (@PatriciaKAdams) September 25, 2017
— kirk acevedo (@kirkacevedo) September 25, 2017
So your ok with your teams protesting on your dime #bossman ? Be careful what u wish for
— Jamie Barner (@BarnerJamie) September 25, 2017
As a veteran, I thank you. As an American, I thank you. As a decent human being, I thank you.
— ??Drew Domino??? (@Salems_Bot) September 25, 2017
Here’s something that really needs to be brought to the attention of Donald Trump and debated in this country: It’s 2017 and yet we still live in a country where not everyone is truly equal. In some ways, we are more divided than ever before. Shouldn’t a president, as the leader of the country, be looking for ways to unite us instead of trying to stir up hatred and venom? Is Donald Trump even capable of such a thing?
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