Fans have been waiting to hear from NASCAR leadership after Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and others have weighed in.
Now, NASCAR has finally released a statement that will leave some fans happy and others infuriated.
The statement, reported by ESPN, echos Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s position and supports the right to peaceful protest.
“Sports are a unifying influence in our society, bringing people of differing backgrounds and beliefs together. Our respect for the national anthem has always been a hallmark of our pre-race events. Thanks to the sacrifices of many, we live in a country of unparalleled freedoms and countless liberties, including the right to peacefully express one’s opinion.”
That close echoes what Junior tweeted early today:
All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests. Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
But it also goes against Richard Petty, who said he said he would fire any employee who kneeled during the anthem, and Richard Childress, who made a very strong statement regarding what he would do if someone on his team decided to kneel for the anthem, and he didn’t mince words before Sunday’s race at New Hampshire.
“Get you a ride on a Greyhound bus when the national anthem is over,” Childress said. “Anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people gave their lives for it. This is America.”
Austin Dillon, the driver of the No. 3 on Childress’ team, told USA Today that NASCAR is a very patriotic sport and he doubts anything will happen at a NASCAR event.
“I don’t know how it would go over with the fans – we’re a very patriotic sport,” Dillon said. “I think our sport does a good job of showing that every Saturday, Sunday of showing patriotism and what the flag means. Not only that, we have a lot of military out here each and every weekend.
“I’ve got SEAL guys that will personally text me and say, ‘Hey, thank you for not moving around (during the anthem). … It means a lot to them just to stand at attention.”
It doesn’t seem like any NASCAR driver or team member will protest and kneel for the anthem. Several NFL teams have decided to protest, but it likely won’t carry over into NASCAR.
(h/t NBC Sports)