Sept. 25 (UPI) — President Donald Trump lauded NASCAR after team owners threatened to fire drivers who decide to protest during the national anthem.
“So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans,” Trump tweeted Monday. “They won’t put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag – they said it loud and clear!”
NASCAR team owner Richard Childress told USA Today on Sunday that he informed his employees to “respect” the United States. He also said they would be fired after the song was over if they decided to protest.
“Get you a ride on a Greyhound bus when the national anthem is over,” Childress said. “I told them anyone who works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people have gave their lives for it. This is America.”
NASCAR team owner Richard Petty told USA Today that anyone who kneels during the song should not be in the United States.
“Anybody that don’t stand up for that ought to be out of the country. Period,” Petty said. “If they don’t appreciate where they’re at…what got them where they’re at? The United States.”
Richard Petty Motorsports majority owner Andy Murstein disagreed with Petty’s stance on firing drivers.
“I would sit down with them and say it’s the wrong thing to do that and many people, including myself, view it as an affront to our great country,” Murstein told ESPN. “If there is disenchantment toward the president or a few bad law enforcement officers, don’t have it cross over to all that is still good and right about our country.
“They are all proud Americans who have lived through world wars and turbulent times. While I respect their thoughts — and personally I think it’s the wrong thing to kneel — I wouldn’t fire someone for expressing their feelings.”
Trump has been tweeting for days about the NFL and its players’ decision to kneel and link arms during the national anthem in protests that began last year over racial inequality in the justice system.
No NASCAR drivers or crewmembers participated in protests during the national anthem Sunday in a NASCAR Cup series race in Loudon, N.H.