As the sports world continues to erupt over President Trump’s call for the NFL to get rid of the “son of a bitch” players who protest during the national anthem, one sport still giving Trump seemingly unequivocal support—at least among its owners—is NASCAR, where every crew member stood for the anthem Sunday before the ISM Connect 300 in New Hampshire.
This was apparently in deference to NASCAR owners, many of whom made no secret of what would happen to anyone on their teams who dared do otherwise.
From USA Today:
“Get you a ride on a Greyhound bus when the national anthem is over,” team owner Richard Childress responded 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.”
Team owner Richard Petty, who won a record-tying seven championships as a driver, said he would fire any employee that didn’t stand for the anthem.
“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.”
Walt Czarnecki, executive vice president of Penske Corp., said Team Penske has no policy regarding the issue and said, “it’s an issue we’ve never faced and don’t anticipate facing.”
NASCAR, as we’ve noted in this space before, has a Donald Trump problem, offering only the most feeble attempts to diversify its slate of drivers even as its core base of fans shrinks and ratings and ticket sales continue to fall. Sunday’s comments suggest that those hoping for a less white, more female future for NASCAR—and also, consequently, a healthier business model—might be waiting for a very long time.