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NASCAR Cup: protests absent in NASCAR

Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR

Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR

By AMANDA VINCENT

In response to the controversial protests during the national anthem prior to NFL games in which some players and team staff have either knelt or stood but locked arms during the anthem to protest inequality and police brutality, NASCAR released a statement on the matter Monday.

“Sports are a unifying influence in our society, bringing people of differing backgrounds and beliefs together,” the statement read. “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.”

No NASCAR team members were seen protesting during the performance of the national anthem during Sunday’s pre-race ceremonies prior to the ISM Connect 300 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.

The lack of protests during NHMS pre-race ceremonies resulted in a tweet of appreciation from President Donald Trump.

“So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans. They won’t put up with disrespecting our Country and our Flag — they said it loud and clear!” Trump (@realDonaldTrump) tweeted.

Two NASCAR icons and longtime team owners int he sport, Richard Childress and Richard Petty, when asked by reporters about the issue Sunday, criticized the protests.

“Anybody that won’t stand up for the anthem ought to be out of the country. Period,” Petty said.

Childress said that if any of his employees don’t stand for the anthem, they should just get “a ride on a Greyhound bus when the national anthem is over. Anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in,” Childress said. “So many people gave our lives for it. This is America.”

Meanwhile, team owner Roger Penske seemed to skirt discussing the issue by stating that his team doesn’t have a policy that addresses the protests.

Car owner Joe Gibbs also didn’t approach the issue.

“You’ve hot an athletic event, and that’s what we’re going to have,” Gibbs said. Gibbs said he didn’t speak with his team about the issue before the race.

Some Cup Series drivers, including 2012 champion Brad Keselowski and 14-time Most Popular Driver made their opinions known via Twitter.

“I can get behind trying to make the world a better place. Can’t get behind putting down others; kneeling clearly does both,” Keselowski (@Keselowski) tweeted.

Earnhardt, meanwhile, defended the protesters, although he hasn’t protested during the anthem, himself. He drew inspiration from the late President John F. Kennedy in a tweet on the matter.

“”All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests. Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable — JFK,” Earnhardt (@DaleJr) tweeted.

NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell, during his weekly interview on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday, reiterated NASCAR’s tradition of patriotism.

I think it’s something that we’ve always talked about in the industry as a sport. If you look at our history, we’ve always, as a sport, demonstrated a respect for the American flag and the freedom it represents,” O’Donnell said. “We celebrate the servicemen and women who have sacrificed to be part of that. That’s part of the sport. From our standpoint, we view ourselves as a sport and want to continue to celebrate the flag but respect others’ opinions.

“But going forward, that’s where we stand, and we’ll leave it at that and hope people can contribute or look at NASCAR as something to tune into on a Sunday and enjoy a sporting event.”

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on September 26, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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