Over the weekend, several NASCAR team owners made it clear that NFL players and other figures who kneel or sit during the anthem, numerous figures across NASCAR supported the President's statement.during the national anthem. While many
Team owners Richard Childress and Richard Petty were both quite outspoken regarding the possibility of protests, even going as far as to threaten termination for any employees who protested during the anthem.
"Anybody that don't stand up for the anthem oughta be out of the country. Period," Petty said, via the Associated Press. "What got 'em where they're at? The United States."
Petty went on to say that any protestors would be fired from Richard Petty Motorsports, and Childress echoed that statement to his team.
"It'll get you a ride on a Greyhound bus," Childress said.
On Monday morning, the President tweeted his support for NASCAR.
So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans. They won't put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag - they said it loud and clear!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
But at least one key NASCAR figure isn't on board with Trump's comments or the threats from team owners. Shortly after Trump's tweet Monday, iconic driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. sent out a message supporting the rights of Americans to a peaceful protest. He drove home his message with a quote from President John F. Kennedy.
All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) September 25, 2017
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable-JFK
It's not the first time that Earnhardt has disagreed with policies and views of the President, but it will be interesting to see how his stance is received by the NASCAR community, much of which seems to be in agreement with Trump. No protests were made before Sunday's race in Loudon, New Hampshire.
Will any owners, drivers or fans be willing to change their stance on the peaceful protests after Junior -- one of the sport's most popular figures -- came out with a strong message of support? Maybe not, but now it's clear that the owners' view of the protests is certainly not unanimous across NASCAR.