LOUDON, New Hampshire — While many NFL players kneeled during the “The Star-Spangled Banner” before games Sunday, NASCAR crews stood along pit road for the national anthem.
More attention has been paid to the issue since President Donald Trump said in a speech Friday that NFL owners should fire players who kneel during “The Star-Spangled Banner.’’
Several NFL players have not stood for the anthem before games to protest the treatment of blacks by police. Former quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the trend last year when he played with the San Francisco 49ers.
Car owner Richard Childress was asked before Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway what the policy was for his team if someone kneeled for the anthem.
“Get you a ride on a Greyhound bus when the national anthem is over,’’ Childress said on pit road. “Anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people gave their lives for it. This is America.’’
Richard Petty told USA Today: “Anybody that don’t stand up for (the anthem) ought to be out of the country. Period. If they don’t appreciate where they’re at … what got them where they’re at? The United States.”
Car owner Joe Gibbs said he didn’t talk about the issue with his team before the race.
“You’ve got an athletic event and that’s what we’re going to have,’’ Gibbs said.
Car owner Chip Ganassi said: “I like Mike Tomlin’s answer.’’
Tomlin is the coach of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. All but one of his team’s players stayed off the field for the anthem before its game Sunday.
Tomlin told CBS Sports before the game: “We’re not going to play politics. We’re football players, we’re football coaches. We’re not participating in the anthem today. Not to be disrespectful to the anthem, to remove ourselves from the circumstance. People shouldn’t have to choose. If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn’t be forced to choose sides. If a guy feels the need to do something he shouldn’t be separated from his teammates who chooses not to. So we’re not participating today. That’s our decision.”
Last year, Austin Dillon talked about how the sport displays patriotism.
“I don’t know how it would go over with the fans – we’re a very patriotic sport,” Dillon said if someone in NASCAR would kneel during the anthem. “I think our sport does a good job of showing that every Saturday, Sunday of showing patriotism and what the flag means. Not only that, we have a lot of military out here each and every weekend.
“I’ve got SEAL guys that will personally text me and say, ‘Hey, thank you for not moving around (during the anthem). … It means a lot to them just to stand at attention.”
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