Don’t do it.
That’s the message from Mercedes when it got wind that three-time Formula 1 racing champ Lewis Hamilton has hinted he might take a knee during the playing of the national anthem during the upcoming Grand Prix race in Austin, Texas.
“This is a very controversial and polarizing story,” Mercedes executive Toto Wolff was quoted as saying in Autoweek.“I wouldn’t want to get involved in politics. We all have our opinion.”
Hamilton races for the Mercedes AMG Petronas team
“Lewis’s feelings about human rights are very strong and I think he wanted to show that and probably Instagram as the communication channel is something that he needs to rethink but I can relate to his feelings,” he said.
Hamilton caused a stir when he placed an offensive photo of a dog performing a sex act on a doll that resembles Donald Trump. Hamilton has been a frequent Trump critic.
Formula 1 is holding the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of Americas, and it will be run in Austin on Oct. 22. Hamilton plans to run in the race, which now threatens to be overshadowed by what Hamilton has hinted he might do: take a knee before the U.S. national anthem.
“It’s not my national anthem, but the issue that is in the States … well, it’s not just in the States, it is a global thing. It’s more focused and probably at its worse perhaps in America. I think we all do need to stand together,” Hamilton told the Sunday Times of London.
Hamilton has already caused a stir by supporting the anthem protests here in the United States ans asking fans to “educate themselves” on the history of taking a knee.
Hamilton, the first black driver in Formula 1 history and the three-time champ, said he feels it’s important for everyone to speak out against injustice.
“It’s important for everyone to stand up for what they believe in,” said Hamilton, who was born in the United Kingdom. “I don’t plan on being more political, but I do feel we should all stand up and stick by what we believe in. It is open for anyone to have freedom of speech, and I guess we can all play a role in trying to make a difference in the world. Particularly if your leader is not helping in that area.”
Taking a knee before the anthem in a state as conservative as Texas would be a gutsy move.