For Pete's Sake

Dale Earnhardt Jr., invoking JFK, sides with people who protest during anthem

Trump says any NFL player who sits during anthem is 'son of a bitch' and should be fired

During President Donald Trump's speech at a rally in Huntsville, Ala. on Sept. 22, 2017, he called out NFL players who sit during the national anthem. Teresa Kaepernick, Colin Kaepernick's mom, commented on Trump's remarks via Twitter. NFL Commiss
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During President Donald Trump's speech at a rally in Huntsville, Ala. on Sept. 22, 2017, he called out NFL players who sit during the national anthem. Teresa Kaepernick, Colin Kaepernick's mom, commented on Trump's remarks via Twitter. NFL Commiss

One day after two of NASCAR biggest owners said they agreed with President Donald Trump about protests during the national anthem, the sport’s most popular driver said he sides with athletes who choose not to stand.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., invoked John F. Kennedy, when he tweeted:

“All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable-JFK”

Earnhardt, who is retiring after this season, has been voted NASCAR’s most popular driver for 16 straight years. His tweet came less than a day after team owners Richard Childress and Richard Petty spoke out about the protests during the national anthem.

“Get you a ride on a Greyhound bus when the national anthem is over,” Childress told USA Today when asked what he would do if one of his employees protested during the anthem. “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.”

Petty told USA Today: “Anybody that don’t stand up for that ought to be out of the country. Period. If they don’t appreciate where they’re at … what got them where they’re at? The United States.”

Earnhardt specifically said he was responding to those comments.

Twitter user David Oslin wrote: “Dale. Please please be careful where you step on this. This is a very complex minefield.”

Earnhardt’s response: “I agree. But some team owners spoke on this.”

NASCAR released a statement on Monday that said: “Sports are a unifying influence in our society, bringing people of differing backgrounds and beliefs together. Our respect for the national anthem has always been a hallmark of our pre-race events. Thanks to the sacrifices of many, we live in a country of unparalleled freedoms and countless liberties, including the right to peacefully express one’s opinion.”

Earnhardt will make one more trip to Kansas Speedway. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 will be held on Oct. 22.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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