National Anthem

Nate Ryan recaps how NASCAR drivers addressed national anthem controversy

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Prior to Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway, Nate Ryan joined “Countdown to Green” to recap how those in the NASCAR community addressed this week’s narrative surrounding peaceful protests during the national anthem at NFL games.

Ryan also explains NASCAR’s tradition with the national anthem and how it changed starting at Dover, which held the first Cup race following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Watch the full video above.

NASCAR drivers discuss what national anthem means to them

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DOVER, Delaware — Richard Childress Racing drivers Austin Dillon and Ryan Newman both addressed the national anthem and their feelings for it Friday in light of protests by other athletes and comments by Childress last week.

Childress was asked before last weekend’s race at New Hampshire about RCR’s policy for those who would kneel during the anthem. He said: “Get you a ride on a Greyhound bus when the national anthem is over. Anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many peoples gave their lives for it. This is America.’’

Asked about Childress’ comments during a media session Friday at Dover International Speedway, Newman said: “I was doing some deer hunting this week. I drove up to Maryland, and I passed a Greyhound bus, and I didn’t see a single employee of RCR or ECR on it, so I think everything is fine.”

President Donald Trump tweeted Monday how “proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans” for standing during last weekend’s anthem at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Shortly after that tweet, Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted a quote from former President John F. Kennedy that “All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests.” The tweet is his most popular and has been retweeted about 150,000 times.

Both Dillon and Newman also were asked if they thought Childress had taken away any choice for his employees on the matter by his comments at last week (North Carolina law provides sports teams ability to fire employees if they kneel for the anthem). 

Dillon said: “I have no clue. But for me, I stand for the national anthem, for those that give us the right to go out and race every weekend. For me personally, when I go out there, I think it’s an honor to stand during the national anthem and have my hand over my heart and stare at the flag. I enjoy that part of my weekend so I can give a little bit back to those who have given their lives to allow me to go race. So, that’s where I stand, personally. I can’t talk for anyone else.”

Newman said: “I have to say that the word ‘protest’ is kind of conflicting in my mind. I don’t think that there is anything to protest when it comes to why I personally stand for the American flag. I think it’s all about liberty and justice for all, and that’s the freedom that we have, and we should all be thankful for that. And if you have the ability to stand, that’s the way I was taught to treat that moment, was to stand. If everybody else was taught differently, it’s news to me.”

Also Friday, Danica Patrick was in the media center and asked to what extent NASCAR drivers may be treated differently than NFL or NBA players if they took a knee during the anthem.

“Well, I don’t know,” Patrick said. Has every other sport and every other business been surveyed as to what they would do? If we’re only using two sports as an example then it’s just one or the other.

“How you run your business is how you run your business. Either you sign a contract that says you’re an independent contractor or you sign one that says you’re an employee. Maybe it comes down to that. Maybe it just comes down to doing your job. You have to figure out what’s more important to you. If you think something should be done differently and you might sacrifice your job, then that’s your choice. Otherwise, it’s your choice the other way, too. In general, there’s plenty of platforms to speak your mind. So if it comes in interference with being able to put food on the table or being able to do something that you love, then I think you should probably go by the rules.

There are a lot of rules in this world. I don’t really drive the speed limit but I’m supposed to and they can give me tickets. I was thinking I should pull out my FIA racing license next time I get pulled over. I don’t know how well that will go over. There are rules for everybody. Even though maybe I have a bigger comfort zone or more ability than that cop giving me the ticket, it’s still a rule.

Earlier this week, NASCAR issued a statement on the issue, noting freedom people have “to peacefully express one’s opinion.”

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Brad Keselowski tweets on anthem protests, ‘false narrative of choice between patriotism and racism’

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Brad Keselowski posted a series of tweets Tuesday night commenting on the controversy surrounding the peaceful protests by NFL players during the playing of the national anthem over the weekend and on Monday.

Keselowski’s tweets come two days after the protests were met by critical comments from NASCAR owners Richard Childress and Richard Petty and a day after Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted his support for the peaceful protests.

Keselowski posted six tweets, the first containing a screenshot of a column written at the Huffington Post with a headline claiming that “White Athletes Still Standing For the Anthem Are Standing For White Supremacy.”

Keselowski, who holds an American flag in his car while celebrating a race win, told friends and fans “I support your civil rights 100%” and “PLEASE DON’T believe this,” referring to the headline.

Here are Keselowski’s tweets edited together:

“My reps want me to stay out of this, I CAN’T. 2 all my friends & supporters, I support your civil rights 100%. PLEASE DON’T believe this. I #Choose2honor our country and hope other do too out of respect and love for a country that has provided us so many blessing. Sure our country isn’t perfect (far from it), the list of misgivings is tremendous, but I hope you can see the positives & honor it as well.

“Please don’t believe that when we stand it’s out of disrespect to civil rights; it is and always will be out of respect and love for our (American flag). I plan to stand and sing the national anthem with my family as long as we are able, every chance possible. I hope you will too. So please don’t fall for the false narrative of choice between patriotism and racism. It’s simply not the case.”

Keselowski’s original tweets follow.

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s peaceful protest tweet strikes chord, becomes his most popular

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At 7:54 a.m. ET Monday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. posted a tweet stating his support for the peaceful protests performed by NFL players Sunday during the national anthem.

The tweet, one of 12,415 he has posted since joining Twitter following his 2014 Daytona 500 win, quickly became his most popular. At press time, it had outpaced his previous best by more than 76,500 retweets and more than 222,700 “likes.”

The tweet contained a quote from former President John F. Kennedy, given in a 1962 speech at the White House in a reception for the diplomatic corps of the Latin American Republics.

Earnhardt, the 14-time most popular driver in NASCAR, is one of the few examples of a high-profile person in the sport showing support of the protests. The protests began last year with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem as a way to protest social injustices.

The mass protests across the NFL on Sunday were sparked by comments President Donald Trump made in a speech in Alabama that NFL owners should fire players who kneel during “The Star-Spangled Banner.’’

The protests were met with remarks from NASCAR owners Richard Childress and Richard Petty stating that anyone on their teams who kneeled or made any form of protest during the national anthem would be fired.

Prior to Earnhardt’s tweet Monday morning, his most popular post on Twitter was from the day following his 2014 Daytona 500 win, when he shared a picture of himself with the statue of his father outside Daytona International Speedway.

Once Monday’s tweet was posted and after he responded to a fan, it was back to business as usual for the driver with 2.2 million followers on Twitter.

He next retweeted a “Mad Men” GIF in celebration of the Washington Redskins victory on Sunday Night Football.

NASCAR statement notes freedom people have ‘to peacefully express one’s opinion’ (video)

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A day after Richard Petty and Richard Childress spoke out against anyone kneeling for the national anthem, NASCAR issued a statement that noted the United States is a country of “unparalleled freedoms and countless liberties, including the right to peacefully express one’s opinion.”

NASCAR’s statement:

“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, who ignited a controversy this past weekend that involved anthem protests across professional sports when he said NFL owners should fire players who kneel during “The Star Spangled Banner”, singled out NASCAR and its supporters during a series of tweets Monday morning about the flag.

Before Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Childress was asked what would happen if anyone from his team kneeled during the national anthem as NFL players have done and a Major League Baseball player did this past weekend.

Childress’ said anyone kneeling should “get you a ride on a Greyhound bus when the national anthem is over. Anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people gave their lives for it. This is America.’’

Petty told reporters: “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.”

President Trump tweeted Monday morning his appreciation for those in NASCAR for such comments.

About 30 minutes later, Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted about the issue.

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