Texas Motor Speedway President on prayer: ‘Everyone has a right to free speech’

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Eddie Gossage, president of Texas Motor Speedway, defended Phil Robertson’s prayer before Saturday night’s Duck Commander 500 Sprint Cup race, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Before Robertson prayed, he told the crowd: “We got here via Bibles and guns. I’m fixing to pray to the one that made that possible.”

Robertson concluded his prayer by saying: “I pray father that we put a Jesus man in the White House. Help us do that and help us all to repent, to do what is right, to love you more and to love each other. In the name of Jesus, I pray, amen.”

“He said what he felt and believed, and there are a lot of people that agree with him, and a lot that disagree with him,” Gossage told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Nowadays, you cannot say what you think because of political correctness. So I guess everyone has a right to free speech, or nobody does.”

Gossage noted singer Bruce Springsteen’s actions in light of a recent North Carolina law that limits legal protections for LGBT individuals.

“Bruce Springsteen cancels his show in North Carolina on his viewpoints (on that state’s law), and a lot of people agreed with him and a lot of people disagree with him,” Gossage said. “I defend Bruce Springsteen’s rights to take his position and, if you do that, then you’ve got to defend everybody else’s, too.”

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, was asked on “The Morning Drive” about what role NASCAR has with the ceremonies before a race.

“Those are, for lack of a better term, track assets, so those are usually sold as part of their race entitlement,” O’Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday. “In this case, ‘Duck Dynasty,’ I think, had every position, the pace car driver, waving the green flag, the invocation, the anthem. All of those are usually track assets.

“We do have a group in (Los Angeles) who does work with the tracks to try and bring celebrities in whenever possible. We saw a huge group come in to (Auto Club Speedway), so from time to time, if the tracks don’t have that position filled, we’ll try to work with them. In this case, Texas had that as part of their race entitlement.”