LOUDON, NH – It appeared no drivers, crew or other team members participated in a protest during the national anthem to start the NASCAR Cup series race Sunday in Loudon, New Hampshire. Several team owners and executives had said they wouldn’t want anyone in their organizations to protest.
Richard Childress, who was Dale Earnhardt’s longtime team owner, said of protesting, “It’ll get you a ride on a Greyhound bus.” Childress says he told his team that “anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people gave their lives for it. This is America.”
Hall of Fame driver Richard Petty’s sentiments took it a step further, saying: “Anybody that don’t stand up for the anthem oughta be out of the country. Period. What got ’em where they’re at? The United States.”
When asked if a protester at Richard Petty Motorsports would be fired, he said, “You’re right.”
Another team owner Chip Ganassi says he supports Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s comments. Tomlin said before the Steelers played on Sunday that players would remain in the locker room and that “we’re not going to let divisive times or divisive individuals affect our agenda.”
The Pittsburgh Penguins say they’ve accepted an invitation from President Donald Trump to go to the White House after winning the Stanley Cup.
The Penguins released a statement Sunday saying they respect the office of the president and “the long tradition of championship teams visiting the White House.” The Penguins were honored by Barack Obama after winning the Stanley Cup in 2016 and previously by George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s.
The Pittsburgh Penguins respect the institution of the Office of the President, and the long tradition of championship teams visiting the White House. We attended White House ceremonies after previous championships – touring the historic building and visiting briefly with Presidents George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama – and have accepted an invitation to attend again this year.
Any agreement or disagreement with a president’s politics, policies or agenda can be expressed in other ways. However, we very much respect the rights of other individuals and groups to express themselves as they see fit.
Trump revoked the White House invitation to the NBA champion Golden State Warriors Saturday, after the team had said they might not accept.