Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s most popular driver, went on Twitter Monday morning to support those who peacefully protest.
Earnhardt’s comments came after President Donald Trump advocated firing NFL players who choose not to stand for the national anthem. Those comments, related to former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick not standing for the anthem last season, drew strong reaction from some players and NFL team owners Sunday.
“All Americans (are) granted rights (to) peaceful protests,” Earnhardt tweeted. “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable – JFK.”
The JFK reference was to a quote by the late President John Kennedy.
In Charlotte, Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers chose not to be on the field Sunday for the national anthem, preceding the Panthers-New Orleans Saints game at Bank of America Stadium. Also, Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan issued a statement Sunday night to the Observer, regarding freedom of speech in divisive times.
Some NASCAR team owners were quoted Sunday as saying they would not condone any drivers not standing for the national anthem before races.
“Anybody that don’t stand up for the anthem outa be out of the country. Period,” legendary driver and now-team owner Richard Petty said in New Hampshire, where the Monster Energy race was Sunday.
Longtime team owner Richard Childress said any such protest by one of his racing employees would “get you a ride on a Greyhound bus.”
Trump said during a public appearance Friday he’d love to see NFL owners terminate players who protest by not standing for the anthem.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that (expletive) off the field right now. He is fired,’” Trump said at a rally.
Monday morning Trump issued a statement lauding those NASCAR owners’ position.
“So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans,” Trump said. “They won’t put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag – they said it loud and clear!”