President Donald Trump said Monday he was “so proud of NASCAR” for its stance on protests during the national anthem after team owners and NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Childress and Richard Petty said over the weekend they would fire employees who protested during the anthem — as Trump has insisted NFL teams do with their own players.
On Monday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. sent out a tweet saying all Americans have the right to stage peaceful protests, citing former President John F. Kennedy.
NASCAR’s most popular driver said Wednesday he needed to speak up on the anthem debate but has no intentions of a demonstration, saying “I stand for the flag during the national anthem, always have, always will.”
Here is Earnhardt’s full quote on the anthem topic from his weekly podcast:
“I kept seeing a lot of negativity about NASCAR on social media. It’s just the same tired stigma that we’ve dealt with for many, many years. So, I didn’t feel like that Richard’s comments and Richard Petty’s comments were the way the entire sport felt. I think that Richard was talking for himself and through North Carolina law they have the right to do the things that they would do.
“They have the right to their opinion. I just didn’t want anyone speaking for me. I felt like that you could assume that those were my own personal feelings as well. I wanted to make that clear.
“With that said, I stand for the flag during the national anthem, always have, always will. We have an incredibly large military presence at our races. We go above and beyond to show our patriotism and what it means to be Americans and how proud we are of that and how proud we are of the flag and what it stands for.