Famed NASCAR owner Richard Childress criticized national anthem protests during Sunday’s race in Loudon, New Hampshire.
Childress, who owned Dale Earnhardt’s team, slammed NFL protestors, warning drivers to refrain from joining the protest.
“It’ll get you a ride on a Greyhound bus.” Childress said, adding that 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 concurred with Childress’ statements. “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,” he said.
The comments come after President Trump denounced athletes who kneel during the anthem.
Trump argued that the NFL should fire or suspend players who refuse to stand for the anthem, adding that players must “stop disrespecting our flag and country.”
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,'” he said. “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”
“If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect. … our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”
Trump seemed to approve of the players who locked arms, calling the action a show of “solidarity.” Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady locked arms with his teammate Phillip Dorsett, while other teammates took a knee.
“Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!” the president tweeted.
Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin stood alone midfield during the anthem, while the rest of the team remained in the locker room. Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva, a captain in the U.S. Army who did three tours in Afghanistan, stood proudly with his hand over his heart during the anthem.