NASCAR owners won't condone anthem protests

Several individual NASCAR owners have come out against their employees taking part in any protest against the National Anthem, with several of them saying they would fire anyone who took a knee during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner.

The governing body of the sport, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, has not taken a position on the protests.  But that hasn't stopped some owners from making their feelings clear.

USA Today:

NASCAR again proved to be an insular oddity in American sports culture on Sunday as Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pre-race festivities at New Hampshire Motor Speedway were completely devoid of the type of national anthem protests that have permeated other professional sports.

Demonstrations have increased in response to President Trump asserting that NFL owners should "get that son of a b---- off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He's fired!" if one of their players protested.

On the day Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan linked arms with players in a silent protest before an NFL game in London, if any NASCAR competitors shared the political opinion of athletes expressing themselves elsewhere, they fell completely in line anyway. In a state whose motto is "Live Free or Die," crewman, including numerous African-Americans, stood in rows as usual for the national anthem, adhering to the prevailing opinion of the sport's team owners.

An "insular oddity in American sports culture"?  The "oddity" is the anthem protests, not the pushback against them.  And NASCAR TV broadcasts, although down in recent years, still outdraw other sports in several regions of the country, including the South.

Legendary NASCAR owner Richard Petty summed up the opinion of several NASCAR teams:

"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," Petty said in comments reported by the AP.

Richard Childress, a former drive who owns Richard Childress Racing, said any protests from his team members would "get you a ride on a Greyhound bus." 

"Anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people gave their lives for it. This is America," Childress reportedly said.

The comments from the NASCAR owners come as NFL players took part in protests at games across the country after Trump slammed players who take a knee, rather than stand, during the national anthem.

How many NFL owners agree with Petty but are terrified of their players' reaction to a crackdown?  Surely, the owners are aware of who their core audience is.  Michael Walsh summed it up nicely in PJ Media:

Football, which is practically the state religion in Texas and across the South, used to be closely tied up with patriotism and love of country. The militaristic component of the sport, which was presented as akin to war, appealed especially to red-state dwellers. But sportscasters and sportswriters are overwhelmingly leftist in their outlook, and their eagerness to turn Kaepernick into a civil-rights icon has repelled a sizable section of football's core audience – and one that, by the current evidence, is growing.

But racial peace is a far more significant motivator than pleasing the "rubes" down south.  There is a fundamental disrespect for their white, blue-collar fan base at work here, but NFL owners figure they will still watch the games no matter what kind of  insults are shown the flag and country.

This issue is not going away and will probably explode during the pro basketball season coming this fall.  In a league that boasts 75% black players, anthem protests will no doubt be big news for months to come.

If you experience technical problems, please write to