President Trump, who has been critical of the National Football League for its handling of the athem protests taking place before games, tweeted praise early Monday morning for the broader NASCAR community's stance on the situation. "He's fired. He's fired!'" Trump said at a campaign speech for Alabama Senator Luther Strange. Several owners locked arms with players during the national anthem and released statements supporting players' right to speak out on social issues.
ESPN anchor Jemele Hill took a shot at NASCAR and its supporters for being less lenient on those who bring the Confederate flag to events. He called on team owners to fire any "son of a b-" who "disrespects our flag".
"All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests", Earnhardt Jr. tweeted.
The players staged a large-scale protest this weekend, with many sitting or taking a knee during the anthem.
But the statement also reassures its largely conservative fan base with talk of the circuit's own long-held "respect for the national anthem"-exactly the thing Trump, Petty, and others said protesters were insulting". Period", Petty said. "If they don't appreciate where they're at ... what got them where they're at?
Richard Childress, the longtime team owner of the legendary driver Dale Earnhardt, was clear about his views on protesting the national anthem.More news: Real Madrid stunned by last-gasp Sanabria header for Betis
Trump, though, has also tried to make standing during the anthem about respect for the military.
The 14-time most popular driver used a quote from John F. Kennedy in a tweet. So many people have gave their lives for it.
But his praise of NASCAR will do little to quiet the suggestion that Trump is, at least implicitly, fueling a racial issue.
You can count on good ole NASCAR to let everyone know that if they see any of that protesting stuff, it won't be tolerated.
On Sunday, USA Today reported that the majority of NASCAR team owners said they would fire drivers and employees who didn't stand for the "Star-Spangled Banner". "It's a big deal for us to honor America".
But now, one of the most well-known NASCAR drivers is joining in on the drama with his own take.