The NFL had plenty of demonstrations during the national anthem on Sunday, from kneeling to locking arms to the Pittsburgh Steelers keeping their team in the locker room until after the anthem played. NASCAR was a different story. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway was completely devoid of any National Anthem protests. In the “Live Free or Die” state, crewman of several races stood in rows as usual for the anthem. But that didn’t stop some and ESPN’s Jemele Hill ripped NASCAR for their stance over the anthem.
NASCAR team owners have been vocal on this issue. “Get you a ride on a Greyhound bus when the national anthem is over,” team owner Richard Childress responded when asked what he would do if one of his employees protested during the anthem. “I told them anyone who works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people have gave their lives for it. This is America.”
Team owner Richard Petty, a seven-time champion driver, said he would fire any employee that didn’t stand for the anthem.
“Anybody that don’t stand up for that ought to be out of the country. Period,” Petty said. “If they don’t appreciate where they’re at … what got them where they’re at? The United States.”
But when the majority owner of Petty’s team, Andy Murstein, was contacted by ESPN, he said that he would not fire an employee who protests.
“I would sit down with them and say it’s the wrong thing to do that [take a kneel], and many people, including myself, view it as an affront to our great country,” Murstein told ESPN. “If there is disenchantment towards the President or a few bad law enforcement officers, don’t have it cross over to all that is still good and right about our country.” He continued saying that he disagrees with firing an employee for taking a stand, but he understands why Petty and Childress have responded the way they have.
“They are all proud Americans who have lived through world wars and turbulent times,” Murstein said. “While I respect their thoughts — and personally I think it’s the wrong thing to kneel — I wouldn’t fire someone for expressing their feelings.”
What are your thoughts about how NASCAR has responded to all of the controversies against protesting during the National Anthem?
Credit: USA Today