Three-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton told the press that he doesn’t have any plans to kneel during the anthem in protest of the oppression of black Americans, as many football players are doing this year. He also refuses to let the controversy surrounding the topic keep him from winning a fourth world championship.
Likely sensing some of the hostility towards players taking a knee in protest, Hamilton’s initial response in today’s pre-United States Grand Prix press conference as to whether he’d kneel during the anthem was short.
“I don’t have a position and I don’t have any plans,” he said in the press conference.
Hamilton later opened up during the press conference on the subject when members of the media pressed him for an opinion. He said that he’s spoken with a number of Americans on the issue, both black and white, to get a better understanding of the issues surrounding police brutality and race. However, Hamilton did say that he greatly respects the movement started by football player Colin Kaepernick.
“In light of all that’s happening in this country right now, it’s super important,” Hamilton told the press room of the kneeling protests.
But as for taking a knee himself, Hamilton said, “I’m not going to give it too much thought.”
Nor does Hamilton give much weight to his critics, who allege that kneeling in protest during the anthem is disrespectful.
“Not really planning to allow all the BS surrounding the topic to drag me down,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton’s answers didn’t seem to rule out taking a knee during the anthem, however, he was adamant that making a statement wasn’t his focus this weekend—he’s focused on winning. Should Sebastian Vettel finish significantly lower than Hamilton at this race, Hamilton could clinch his fourth world championship on Sunday.