Athletes in the NFL and other major sports leagues have begun protesting various forms of social injustice by kneeling during the playing of the national anthem. This year-long controversy started with former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, and has since spread through the world of athletics. As part of that, Richard Petty, owner of NASCAR's Petty Motorsports, announced that he will take immediate action if any of his employees decide to protest in this manner.
USA Today reported Petty's comments on the situation, ones that show his distaste with what he has seen so far in 2017. While athletes in many other major American sports have decided to take a knee during the symbolic performance, no one in NASCAR has taken such an approach; every crew member in attendance at the recent ISM Connect 300, for example, stood for the playing of 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.”
He's not alone in NASCAR, either, as several other team owners have sided with Petty. Richard Childress mentioned in the same story that he would not put up with members of his team protesting against the ritual, telling them to "get you a ride on a Greyhound bus when the national anthem is over."
He went on to say, "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.”
Recent developments have stirred the argument as President Donald Trump released a statement to NFL team owners, advising them to part ways with their "son of a bitch" players who protest against the National Anthem. Several officials of these teams have released statements of support for their players, promoting their freedom of speech and viewing it as a peaceful way of expressing their beliefs.