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.