Ferrari Driver Charles Leclerc: I’m Tired of Being Called a Racist for Not Kneeling

Charles Leclerc
Getty Images/Mark Thompson

Ferrari Driver Charles Leclerc is striking back after critics slammed him for refusing to kneel during the national anthem.

Leclerc is one of only six Formula One drivers who have refused to bow to the Black Lives Matter movement by kneeling during the anthem this year. Still, despite remaining standing during the anthem, Leclerc has worn an “end racism” shirt during the period the anthem is played, ESPN reported.

Before the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, Leclerc issued a statement saying that he favors “ending racism.”

“I believe that what matters are facts and behaviors in our daily life rather than formal gestures that could be seen as controversial in some countries,” he said.

Despite his explicit proclamations against racism, Leclerc feels he has been maligned by Black Lives Matter fanatics who continue to call him a racist for refusing to kneel.

This week, Leclerc wrote several sharp tweets addressing the attacks.

“It is very sad to see how some people manipulate my words to make headlines, making me sound like a racist,” he said. “I am not racist, and I absolutely hate racism. Racism is disgusting.”

“Stop putting me in the same group as these disgusting people that are discriminating others because of their skin color, religion, or gender. I’m not part of them, and I never will. I’ve always been respectful to everyone, and that should be the standard in today’s world.

“And to whoever is using my image to promote their wrong ideas, please stop. I’m not into politics, and I don’t want to be involved in that.”

At a news conference ahead of the Silverstone, the driver added that he posted the tweets, “Because I just don’t want to be judged anymore.

“As I’ve said many times, I’m active on social media, and I don’t accept to be called the way I’ve been called in the last few weeks, negatively obviously, just because of not kneeling. I wanted to make a straightforward tweet just to express my feelings, and that’s it,” he explained.

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