A difficult day to be in NASCAR

I feel a deep sense of hurt, anger and sadness this morning after seeing NASCAR’s name get associated with intolerance.

NASCAR is the most American sport. There are patriotic shows of support for the military at the track, thank-yous to soldiers through a variety of VIP access and weekly honoring of families who have lost loved ones during battle.

But many NASCAR fans seem to overlook a very important part of being an American: The right to free speech and peaceful protest.

Some of the very same people who insist on their right to display the Confederate flag at NASCAR races are outraged over someone else’s right to kneel down during the national anthem as a form of protest.

Whether you agree with either one of these things or would participate in either, they are both free speech.

So when Richard Childress and Richard Petty told reporters Sunday they would fire anyone on their teams who took part in a very American form of protest, it opened the floodgates for an avalanche of shit to rumble down the mountain and cover everyone associated with the sport.

What’s left of our little sanctuary away from politics and social issues is now shattered, if it wasn’t mostly destroyed already. While it would be nice to stick to sports, that becomes impossible once the president starts tweeting about NASCAR as a political prop.

NASCAR has made a tremendous mistake by failing to make a statement on its stance. Instead, two old-guard owners expressed their opinion and spoke for the entire sport.

Though many drivers, crewmen, media members and fans who work in NASCAR were likely thrilled at the team owners’ comments, not everyone shares that opinion. All those associated with NASCAR today are being stereotyped, and it sucks.

Many patriotic people in NASCAR believe in the right to a peaceful protest. It’s part of being an American and should be celebrated, not punished.

Would I kneel during the national anthem? No, because I have always associated it with a soldier killed in action — Sgt. Bryan Brewster — who was the son of my former editor. His name flashes through my mind every time the anthem plays, so I want to respect his memory.

But when soldiers fight for the United States, they are protecting our way of life — which includes the right to express a viewpoint. Those who take a knee are not hurting anyone — they’re not obstructing traffic with a protest, clashing with police in riot gear or fighting counter-protesters — so they should be allowed to do what they want without fear of losing their jobs.

That’s the beauty of living in this country! We have that freedom and that right. That right should be celebrated, even if you don’t agree with their actions. I personally haven’t experienced the kind of social injustice many black people face on a daily basis, so I can’t judge anyone.

But unfortunately, being associated with NASCAR today means my perceived viewpoint has already been determined by others. People who hear that I work in NASCAR will presume I feel the same way as Richard Petty, and that bothers me tremendously. It’s embarrassing, and I wish NASCAR itself would loudly state it supports the right to peaceful protest in whatever way people choose.

During these most turbulent times for the country, we have to come together, show that we tolerate other viewpoints, find common ground and celebrate our differences at the same time.

The ranks of NASCAR fans have dwindled over the last decade, so let’s not shut more people out. Let’s try to make NASCAR a place where all are welcome. But that has to be done through a conscious effort to embrace people who don’t think the same as us.

If that doesn’t happen, NASCAR will just end up as its own island. Should that be the case, the sport’s future is grim.

249 Replies to “A difficult day to be in NASCAR”

  1. Great post. Thank you for getting it. After Jr. retires im afraid we will lose not only a voice of reason but a reason to watch NASCAR.

    1. I totally agree. I started pulling away from NASCAR the minute Dale Jr announced his retirement. It’s just not fun anymore. We used to attend 5-6 races a year but haven’t been to one in 3 years now. I’m sad because I love NASCAR but it’s not the same as it used to be. To many new rules, conflict…no fun..????

    2. Jr. may no longer be racing after this year, but he’s still going to be in the sport, broadcasting on tv, as well as on social media. He won’t quiet down, thankfully.

          1. Gaaaa, they can’t even spell the WORDS they make up. There’s a serious division between thinkers and IDIOTS in this country.

        1. Well spoken Jeff, I agree with you about two old guard owners. Let’s hope the Teams, Drivers and fans follow Dale Jr’s advice today. We live in a Democratic nation. We can’t let Childress, Petty & Trump divide our Sport. NASCAR attendance has gone down. And it will keep going until it is grim. God bless NASCAR, it’s Drivers, Teams, Sponsors and Fans. (Dale, Sr loved his son, Dale, Jr. He wouldn’t have laid a hand on him.)

      1. Dale Jr. is 42 years old – a grown fucking man man. He’s allowed to have his opinion, regardless of if his father would agree or disagree with him.

      2. So, I assume you knew Dale Sr. personally? I mean you profess to know his personal views and that he was in favor of beating people, even his own adult child, for disagreeing with him…

      3. I think if Sr was alive he’d more likely to be looking to beat your ass what Jr had to say was intelligent and spot on

    3. The sport is still an interest to me because I grew up smelling tires and fuel and love it.
      But it’s confusing to a newcomer to keep up with all that nascar has changed, rules, forced to sit on pit road for practice etc etc.
      The race is determined by so many factors anymore it’s impossible to determine the fastest car and the best driver.
      Guys are forced to play chess games to start up front on bad tires and trouble the guy who was fast and raced his but off to be in that position. Simplicity is gone. Nascar to me holds the most patriotic feel of all sports.
      Don’t confuse that part too!
      Some things are better left un said! Leave it alone and race boys.
      That’s all.
      This ain’t football.

    4. I agree…but very proud of Dale Jr for taking a stance. He is the Very Best of America, NASCAR & unselfish generosity.

    5. A few points/opinions-
      If you want to take a stand, protest, make your views know then organize a peaceful protest with like minds.
      Everyone has the right and freedoms to think, form opinions, and speak out on any topic they feel strongly about.
      With freedoms come responsibilities-
      As citizens we are to pledge allegiance to the flag, every citizen of this country should do this proudly.
      It is asked of anyone looking to become a citizen, certainly the citizens of this country should feel the obligation to pledge allegiance and stand for our national anthem.
      All you have to do is imagine life in any other country, and that alone should raise you up.
      No matter what your differences are you still hold and show respect for your country, just like you should for your parents, grandparents, sisters, spouses, employers, and so on.
      RESPECT is something not shown or taught enough these days, and it would go a long way on many fronts.
      If your divide is that deep you should consider moving. Nobody is made to stay here.
      My problem with using any sports venue to take a stand is that it is not the place or time. I tune in to sports to escape the crap going on in the world for that period of time, not to see a “peaceful protest” or any other kind.
      I will not support any sport, athlete, or celebrity who chooses to impose political or social opinions on me when my only expectation is that of being entertained for a period of time.
      As a nation we have many things to be ashamed of, but we also have many things to be proud of. It’s how you choose to look at the glass as half full or half empty. Ripping down statues will not change our past, neither will kneeling during the anthem.
      It’s a childish way of protesting without netting any real results, besides maybe impacting revenue over a period of time
      People do not want to see any type of protest when they tune into sports, or other forms of entertainment.
      Just my humble opinion.

      1. People don’t want to see peaceful protest when they turn to sports. Others no longer want to watch their loved ones gunned down by people sworn to protect them.

        1. Well when an officer tells you to do something then do it!!!!!! Police don’t get up n go to work and say…. fuck it… I’m going to shoot someone!!!!!! That’s the last thing they want to do!!!!!!

          1. Ok so why shoot to kill then? A bullet in the kneecap takes the subject down. Keep coming pop the other kneecap. Hard to walk or attack with no knees. Bam no one dies. Police are taught shoot to kill. We got police rolling up in communities in military vehicles armed to the tee in combat gear like their envading Iraq. I understand neighborhoods are tough and sometimes force is needed but now a days it’s straight to force and elimination.

        2. Easiest way to avoid being a “victim” is simple! Quit breaking the fucking law! Common sense! That’s the answer! Not riots, looting and BLM rallies! Nobody in this country is “oppressed” anymore unless by thier own actions. Get a clue.

          1. I guess no white person has ever broken the law in this country, because they never get shot by policemen. White people are smart, they enter welcoming churches and kill peaceful parishioners,

      2. Very well said. And totally agree. Respect was taken away when the Pledge was taken away in schools. What more do we expect from this generation growing up without that respect. Without having that flag folded as returned to you instead of that father,mother,daughter,son,sister or brother. That pain is not deep in their hearts. There are other ways to do a silent protest. Just not during that freedom most sacrificed for them to wear that uniform proudly.

        1. My kid still says the pledge every single day at school. I don’t know where they’ve banned it, or even if that is a fact.

        1. Do you think getting shot is nonsense what planet do you live on. Unarmed, not obeying isn’t going to hurt the person with the gun. Common sense policing is access the situation this is not the fucking wild ass west, shoot first and ask question later. That is not the America I grew up in, I don’t know about what state you are in, I pray they don’t shoot your child and then ask why was he playing with a toy gun, 12 years old Tamir Rice, killed and dead, what if that had been your child. Death is not nonsense, ignorance and stupidity are.

          1. The police face many things daily that you would not believe. They would like to go home to their family at the end of the day. When you face the possibility that a simple traffic stop may result in your death you become super aware of situations and have to make snap decisions. Some times they are wrong. So who would you like protecting your rights Rocket Man ? Good luck

          2. You really need to think before you write. Nobody said anything about the issues you brought up in your post. Peaceful protest is fine and by all means, do it. But bringing your ‘peaceful protest’ to a sporting event is just silly. It is not having the effect you wish anyway. The media, the owners, etc. are just pandering to you. They don’t really care about your issues. All the media wants is sound bites. All the owners want is the games to go on.

      3. Excellent post. The most commmon sense expression on this subject I have read. You my friend are a true American

      4. There is no law or statement in any US govt. book requiring citizens to stand during the anthem. It is asked of us. The first amendment gives us the right to take whatever we want from that request. Many soldiers kneel in respect of a fallen comrade on the battlefield. Colin Kapernick originally took a knee on the ADVICE of a veteran instead of just sitting on the bench. It has nothing to do with disrespect (I consider the confederate flag in that position). It is PEACEFUL protest which in my opinion is the best kind. No one is getting hurt, just having their feelings and opinions on the subject get all butthurt. It’s a real issue they are protesting. Take notice.

      5. And NASCAR expresses many social and political opinions through the sponsors on cars and the lack of diversity in the sport.

      6. Very well said and I couldn’t agree more. The National Anthem is about respect for the flag, not a time to protest. My opinion is if you don’t respect it move to another country. Jeff you have aright to your opinion, I just don’t agree with it.

      7. Except when black people gather and do the kind of protesting you’re describing above (peaceful protest with like minds), then they get called terrorists. Look at Black Lives Matter, an organization started to bring awareness to racial inequities in the criminal justice system. They organize peacefully and legally and people STILL compare them to Nazis.

        It is not disrespecting our country or military for an athlete to use his or her enormous platform to speak on behalf of others . Patriotism runs deeper than a flag and a song.

      8. Good job man! My sentiments exactly. Save that shit for facebook, which has just turned into a sewerhole of arguement and namecalling.

  2. Great post. Nascar should respect the free expression of all its fan and not stereotype us all to Petty and RCR’s positions.

  3. A-fucking-men brother. This is exactly how I’m feeling today.

    Unfortunately, everyone is so dug in on their side it has become a ‘you’re not with me so you are against me’. The extremist on both sides are the problem.

    We just need to try and see where the other person is coming from. Having an open mind will do this country a lot of good.

    1. Thank you Bill for putting in words what I haven’t been able too.

      “Unfortunately, everyone is so dug in on their side it has become a ‘you’re not with me so you are against me’. The extremist on both sides are the problem.”

      I’ve felt something along these lines all weekend. It’s almost not safe to be in the middle because then everyone thinks you’re wrong.

  4. It’s grim already.

    I’ve been a NASCAR apologist for probably near a decade – spent the better part of college trying to convince people to give it a chance, to see the broader sport beyond what DW would be yelling on the broadcast. It wasn’t always easy, but for a few hours every season I could make fans out of people, and believe that maybe the sport could head towards a future where a new group of fans cropped up. It’s clear now that it’s not going to happen.

    I just can’t justify recommending NASCAR to someone after this. You’re already taking on a lot of prejudices when you try to introduce someone to the sport, but when they look this bad, on such a major topic like yesterday, it’s just inexcusable.

    NASCAR is becoming more and more a distant memory of my childhood than something I’ll continue to follow throughout my life. It’s disappointing, and I think there are a lot of drivers that don’t want it that way… but ownership is on a crash course to irrelevance and I have 0% faith that they have the intelligence, ability, or will to correct that.

    1. Well said. Very much agree with you. NASCAR has been a family tradition, something I’ve followed since being a kid in the 70’s and something my eldest son adores. But now, we’re done. I wore a NASCAR t-shirt to the store on Saturday; wasn’t really a conscious thought, I just grabbed the closest shirt. A black family was giving me dirty looks; they assumed I was a racist. People who know me know how wrong that was… and it felt quite uncomfortable to be judged as “one of THEM.”

      With Dale Jr. leaving the sport, there was going to be something missing, anyway. Now, I just can’t support an organization that appears to be standing on the wrong side of history.

      1. I feel you. And as a black man I have been a NASCAR fan for decades. Even when it was a good ol boy sport. I still stuck with it cause if your a fan your a fan. I love motor sports. I to agree at the end of the season I’m done. Dale Jr is gone. Carl Edwards is gone. Gordon is gone Tony Stewart is gone. Matt Kenseth might be gone. Yes there is great talent coming up thru the ranks but they push these kids up to cup to fast. NASCAR racing just lost it’s fire. Races are predictable and unless you can afford cable when NBC has the coverage good luck being able to watch. But I just wanna say. I know you said you felt uncomfortable wearing your NASCAR shirt because a black family looked at you funny. People need to realize being a black man in this country today. It don’t matter what you wear. You gonna get looked at side ways. Keep in mind I’m a single dad of 4 kids. 2 have graduated from high school the other 2 are in high school now on their way to graduating. People don’t know me but by the color of my skin I’m judged before I even get out the car. People take this flag thing so personal. When it’s a right we have no matter where it is. It’s not about the flag our military or the anthem. It’s about wanting equality. And hoping my son can walk to the store and get a bag of Skittles and a tea, and not be shot and killed on the way back because he looked suspicious. I seen a white guy the other day walking in my moms neighborhood. Dude was talking to his self carrying a machete with a booger hanging out his nose. I mean dude was sketchy as hell. Crazy thing happened. I didn’t shoot him.

  5. Great writing Jeff. Might be your best piece covering NASCAR. I am sure you will receive some blow back but thanks for standing tall.

  6. One key element everyone is forgetting. While at the track, your at WORK, your employer is paying you to be there, and not protest, silent or otherwise.

    1. Technically they aren’t paying you until you get in the car or step onto the field or court. They are paying you from flag to flag or kick off to the buzzer

      1. That is in correct. It is no different then a store employee with a uniform. If u are wearing a uniform that represents that company you are considered on the clock. And the people are contracted for the weekend not by the hr.

        1. Um last i checked national anthem respect was not in most peoples job description? Firing people for political beliefs is pretty lawsuit worthy

        2. So in that case Richard Petty and Richard Childres work for NASCAR. They were at the track. They shouldn’t have had the right to express their opinion on standing or kneeling. Your at work it’s not a political stage. Should’ve just said we not gonna comment on that. They expressed their views. How is that any different? They get fined by NASCAR same as drivers and crews do. So is that not a double standard there?

          1. You don’t have a “right” to employment. Your employer has the RIGHT to fire you if they disapprove of your conduct, performance, or they feel that you are a poor representative of them.

            I’ve said it a million times in this blog already, but unless it is the Government telling you what you can and cannot do, your rights are not being violated. Employers can and do fire people for all kinds of reasons. Some employers fire people for things that other employers would not fire people for.

            I would love to see how many of these teams put a gun to their employees heads and demand that they work for them. Most of the people who are fortunate enough to work in Nascar are happy to be there, and willingly signed up to work at these companies and follow their codes of conduct.

            It really isn’t that hard to understand.

          2. Not true. All employees have rights and the Supreme Court has ruled in several cases against companies regarding 1st amendment rights.

          3. Wendy,

            You seem to think you can say whatever you want and employers can do nothing about it – this has been proven over and over not to be the case.

            How about the google employee who was fired? Were his first amendment rights violated?

            What about the guy who made the song “I work at Starbucks” which became a youtube sensation. He was fired for that song – and he was off the clock!

            So, please tell me where I can go work and say whatever I want without fear of retribution from my company because I am protected by the first amendment.

      2. You think crews are not paid to be at the track until the flag drops? Who pays for their flights? Who pays for their lodging? Are they not getting paid all morning in the garage? To set up the car? And you truly believe drivers are not “on the job” until the flag drops? Sponsors. Autograph sessions. Team meetings. NASCAR Driver meetings. It’s a weekend event. Have you ever been to a race? They are all at their “job”. Surely if anyone of us was at our “job” and went against what the owners of our company asked us to do, we’d be fired. An employee has all the free speech rights in the world away from their place of employment. The track is not one of them.

        1. So standing up for injustice and equality is something you should get fired for? If your spouse or family member was at a place of business and another person started to curse them and throw things at them for let’s say for being white. If an employee stepped in and said something because that person was being targeted simple because their white. You think they should be fired. Because they have a uniform on so they are on the clock. Awesome. This is why NASCAR is a dying sport.

      3. You are still in their uniform and representing the franchise. Any employer wants their employees putting forth an image of what the company represents and stands for.

      4. So practices are optional? Meetings are optional? They’re not employed during the week? They’re paid by the game, just like some of us are paid every two weeks or every week, but we’re all still employed throughout the week.

        Your employer can fire you for a DUI when you’re off the clock. Their employer can fire them for acting like a fool before the game/race.

      5. Actually from the time they pay for your transportation to the track be it by rental car or plane you are representing your company and the companies it represents.

      6. They are wearing jumpsuits with sponsorships, aren’t they? That makes them WORKING! They are paid for endorsing products.

        Either way, I’m not trying to take ANYONE’S right away of free speach. I’m just asking that they be respectful of MY FREE SPEACH and perhaps I’ll respect them a little more. We live in a society where MUTUAL RESPECT goes a long way.

        1. So standing up for injustice and equality is something you should get fired for? If your spouse or family member was at a place of business and another person started to curse them and throw things at them for let’s say for being white. If an employee stepped in and said something because that person was being targeted simple because their white. You think they should be fired. Because they have a uniform on so they are on the clock. Awesome. This is why NASCAR is a dying sport.

      7. Wrong, we are paid from the moment we get on the plane until the moment we step off, representing the companies and sponsors the entire time. I don’t agree w/ protests during the anthem, but am fine with any other peaceful protest. Do it on your own time. Period. An employer, especially one that relies on sponsorship which may fall on either side of the fence on this, can clearly outline your expectations as you are a representative of them and sponsors. They have that right. Again, I’m not against the protests, just the timing of those as they have nothing to do with each other.

    2. Amen Matt! I resepectfully DISAGREE with Jeff.

      Although I VERY MUCH believe in the “freedom of expression” as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights”~you DON’T have that freedom while you are under the employ of SOMEONE ELSE!

      1. I did not finish my point….

        When I fly a flag on my truck while at an event-I am on MY OWN TIME.

        When you are dressed in a uniform, be it on a race team or the NFL-you are on SOMEONE ELSE’S time! Hence, anything you do reflects on your employer!

        As your “employer” I would be FURIOUS with what I believe is an expression of disrespect of our flag while any of my “guys” are at work.

        When on your own time, do and say what you want to! When i my time, respect the work environment and leave the “protests” at home!

          1. Please go to your place of employment, and start hanging up things that you want to protest against. We will be looking for your resume in the next few days when you are fired.

            Protest on your own time, not theirs.

          1. Wendy,

            Respectfully, you don’t know what you are talking about. Employers have every right to regulate speech. Seriously, go to your job and tell a customer to f*** off. It’s a free country, and you can do it. You will also get fired.

            Why? Because your company probably doesn’t appreciate it when you tell it’s customers to f*** off. So, yes, they can pick and choose.

            At the same time, you can walk up to me on street and for no reason tell me to f*** off – and there isn’t anything I can do about. That is free speech.

        1. You are woefully uneducated on what the constitution protects.

          To answer your question, you don’t lose any rights. Neither does your employer, who can and probably will choose to fire you.

        2. Your constitutional right of free speech is that the government can’t control it. Your employer has every right to control it, as you are a representative of that company.

        3. Hey anonymous, why don’t you try to comprehend what they are saying. NO ONE is taking their right away. They can protest whenever the hell they want. When you do it on COMPANY TIME, representing sponsors, you must act accordingly. It is THEIR RIGHT to fire your ass if you take aponsorships away. So, go ahead and use your 1st amendment right. Just know that there are consequences for doing so AT WORK!

      2. This is America. I have the same American rights when I’m at work or when I’m at home or where ever the hell I happen to be. I have the right to protest no matter what my gd employer thinks. Wake up people. You’re handing your rights away to madmen.

        1. Yes, you DO have that right. They ALSO have the right to fire you if they don’t like what you are saying or your conduct goes against company policy.

          Question: People were FIRED from their jobs when they involved themselves in the charleston protest. It was their right to be there, but their company felt that it didn’t represent their values. Do you feel that their constitutional rights were violated?

          I’ll give you the answer: Their rights were not violated, and the companies were well within their rights to terminate their employment.

          Now ask yourself: What is different here?

    3. YES!!!

      This is the real problem – nobody is infringing on anyone’s right to free speech. When Childress or Petty say “stand for the anthem or work somewhere else” that is THEIR RIGHT as a team owner. As an employee, you represent your employer. That is what has become lost in the whole NFL “protest.” The NFL should have nipped this in the bud earlier, it would have been a short storm that would have soon been forgotten.

      Unfortunately for them, their inaction has allowed it to propagate into what we are seeing today – and their ratings have and will continue to suffer as a result.

      Here are the problems as I see it…

      #1 – If you disagree with people kneeling during the anthem, you are branded a racist or white supremacist. This is wrong, but that is the world we live in.

      #2 – Reality check, people don’t want other people’s politics FORCED down their throat. If you want to march on the streets on the weekends, go ahead. If you want to bring your political views into my living room via TV… click.

      #3 – I take real exception to this line…
      “Those who take a knee are not hurting anyone — they’re not obstructing traffic with a protest, clashing with police in riot gear or fighting counter-protesters — so they should be allowed to do what they want without fear of losing their jobs.”

      No offense, but this is absolutely ridiculous. Why, as an employer, should I have someone who represents me, my sponsors, etc. who doesn’t share my values or beliefs? People get FIRED all the time for saying controversial things via social media from their corporate jobs, but sports stars who make millions should be free from the same treatment?

      Freedom of speech is freedom from GOVERNMENT not allowing you to speak, not your EMPLOYER. Your employer has rights as well, and they can decide to fire you for all kinds of different reasons, AS THEY SHOULD.

      So, Jeff, I like your column and think you do a great job of reporting on NASCAR. You are wrong on this one.

      1. When I am on the clock for my company I have to abide their code of conduct. This means no political or religious stands are to be made. When I am on MY OWN time, I do and say what I want.

      2. I disagree with your message Jeff. No one disputes our liberties I know you and I both have heard it said ” I may disagree with your opinion but I will fight to the death your right to say so”

        So it is here Jeff, every employer has that right to mandate conduct not in the best interest of the business. Exactly what Richard Childress and Richard Petty said..

        Not to put words in Brian Frances mouth but
        would not be surprised to see NASCAR ban the individual that failed to show respect for our country, our flag, kneeling during the National Anthem.

        Every american has the right to peaceful protest, but not on company time.. You work for who you work for an that employer has the right to mandated lawful conduct not offensive to the company… NASCAR is entertainment, Entertainment is SALES and in SAlES, Perception is reality… Period ….

        NASCAR has always closely associate its self with our Military. To not respect our flag is to disrespect our country…. they are one in the same.

        So, do your protest on your time,

        NOT IN NASCAR,

        NOT IN THE NFL, NBA, BASEBALL

        NO POLITIES IN SPORT PERIOD…. NONE

      3. Well said!

        Guess their right to protest during anthem superceeds our right to political-free broadcast of sports event.

      4. Jeff misses the point. Nothing to do with free speech.

        Standing for the anthem is an American tradition. Trump, Childress, and Petty know this as fact.

        They can’t lose this argument.

        1. it’s your obligation as a citizen. period.
          if you can’t do that your loyalty to this country should be questioned!

    4. Well, do you have the National Anthem played at work every morning? And what if your owner asked you to pray everyday before work, but you didn’t feel the need to expose your opinions on faith then what?

      1. Regarding if your employer asked you to pray every morning before work… There are still regulations and protections for employees against undue hardships and violation of religious freedoms. Employers have to provide “reasonable accommodations” for employees with disabilities, for instance.

        In a case of a code of conduct and what is expected, however, certain things are “part of the job.” If you don’t like them, you don’t have to work there.

      2. Just because they say a prayer doesn’t mean I have to pray or participate. I keep my fucking mouth shut though and give them the respect that I would want if rolls were reversed.

    5. Excatly Jerry Jones doesn’t pay his players to get involved in political, peaceful, or any other type or protest on his field and NASCAR team owners shouldn’t either. The stero type or NASCAR is what it is. It used to a good ol boy redneck sport and the more it goes away from it roots the more fans they lose. I’m glad you make your living from NASCAR fans and you are ashamed to tell people what you are associated with. Maybe you should cover another sport that aligns better with your values.

      1. I LOVE your comment Brian…..

        I wonder how many of Gluck’s “supporters” will now be going away? How many left leaning readers will suddenly pour in the cash needed for him to continue covering a sport that he now considers politically incorrect?

        The left can’t get over their recent and numerous political losses so instead they are now “hell bent” on dividing us into an unrecognizable mess!

        I agree with Brian Jeff-what say you to covering a different sport since this one suddenly “embarrasses” you??

        Let this be a lesson to you bro-Don’t crap where you eat!!

    6. Matt I agree. The people garnering attention for protesting are doing so at work! As a retired educator that boggles my mind! Protesting in any form while at work would have been seen as not doing my job.

    7. You got it right. Tell your boss to go screw himself and you’re out the door. Plain and simple. This politically correct bullshit is just that, bullshit.
      What you do on your own time is your business.
      Petty and Childress are absolutely correct. They have standards for employee behavior and disrespecting the flag is not one of them. They sign your check and this gives them the right to call the shots. Don’t like it quit.
      NASCAR fans have been stereotyped for years. Good old boys, rednecks Bubbas you name it. Who cares?

    8. Fact is, if your employer supports your protesting, nothing wrong with doing so. Also, this is actually protesting before the job at hand. It isn’t like the players are taking a knee in the middle of the game.

      Great article here. Soldiers fought for the freedom to both stand AND kneel. Forcing anyone to stand is a quick road to fascism and that is supposed to be the opposite of what America is about.

      1. Oh no… I think you just gave the protesters a new idea… that will be the next step…. or next knee….during the game…..

    9. So in that case Richard Petty and Richard Childres work for NASCAR. They were at the track. They shouldn’t have had the right to express their opinion on standing or kneeling. Your at work it’s not a political stage. Should’ve just said we not gonna comment on that. They expressed their views. How is that any different? They get fined by NASCAR same as drivers and crews do. So is that not a double standard there?

  7. Great article and couldn’t agree more…part of Petry fan group and now members want to post pro Petty statements and articles due to his statement . I don’t agree with him.

    Years ago at charlotte an African American man was with his son at the race ….right in front of them two kids with confederate flag. They shouldn’t have to be subjected to that.that was painful to watch.

    NASCAR in precarious position….depending on where this goes don’t be surprised if sponsors are more reluctant to come into the sport . For Petty the position is even more challenging given they are looking for a major sponsor…..this won’t help that cause

    End of day don’t lump all NASCAR fans in same boat …..as someone said on another post …..forced patriotism is oppression….props to Dale Jr for being voice for the others

    1. I completely agree with you. I’ve witnessed racism and bigotry at a number of tracks and in the comments made by people posting online. Lately that’s been towards Daniel Suarez. I used to follow a number of Nascar personalities on Facebook and Twitter and stopped after seeing hateful comments posted or agreement with/retweets of hateful comments. If that’s me as a white woman from Canada, how would most POC feel embracing the sport?

      I used to attend 3-5 races a year which costs quite a bit including traveling and exchange rates. I’d rather spend that money elsewhere than continue to support a sport that embraces hatred, bigotry and squashing people’s rights and freedoms or have to fight with the guy in the next seat or camp site because I don’t like his President, driver, etc.

      I watch on occasion on Sundays but usually when there it’s down to the last 50-100 laps and there’s nothing else on sports-wise. Hell, I watched golf yesterday before watching the Loudon race. It’s sad it’s come to that but I’m sure the old white dudes of Nascar won’t miss me and I won’t miss them.

  8. Read the following from Nate Ryan this morning (9|25|17)

    “I think it’s something that we’ve always talked about in the industry as a sport, if you look at our history, we’ve always as a sport demonstrated a respect for the American flag and the freedoms it represents,” O’Donnell said. “We celebrate the servicemen and women who have sacrificed to be part of that. That’s part of the sport. From our standpoint, we view ourselves as a sport and want to continue to celebrate the flag but respect others’ opinions.

  9. Excellent post Jeff. And Bill (above) said it great:

    “Unfortunately, everyone is so dug in on their side it has become a ‘you’re not with me so you are against me’. The extremist on both sides are the problem.

    We just need to try and see where the other person is coming from. Having an open mind will do this country a lot of good.”

    I have been a fan for 60 years and yesterday’s comments negated much of that enjoyment.

  10. Well said Jeff. I know it comes with risk to talk against a sea of “just stick to sports” mentality, but thank you for these words. While I agree with your perspective wholeheartedly, even if I didn’t I would respect your willingness to share. We’ve all seen NASCAR be a welcoming community for all of us even as we get sterotyped as a monolith unfairly. I know we can all make that be a place to stand together as people.

  11. If you or anyone else is being stereotyped by anyone just because of your sport or your job then that person is just as closed minded as anyone else. Nascar fans can have differing opinions on a variety of different subjects.

  12. Fantastic take. It makes me feel so much happier to see someone else more involved and known in the sport feeling as I do.

    I’m very liberal, but support each free person’s constitutional rights. While people have a right to condemn the purpose for those that kneel, it is highly inappropriate to condemn someone’s constitutional right to kneel.

    I want to be an engineer in a few years for a NASCAR team and I hate to express my passion through twitter or Instagram or even in my daily life because of the stereotype – that I’m a “redneck” or I “only go in circles”. Support for Donald Trump would be perpetuated on to me should I tell people I love racing. And I hate Donald Trump.

    Thank you for identifying with NASCAR’s minority!

  13. You all are talking about rights, well the owners have the right to also fire whoever they want for not performing up to expectations! It’s no different then the Cowboys owner setting his expectations!
    Let NASCAR lead the way as a sport that stands for the flag and uses words and actions on their own time to handle what they feel they need too! Sponsors, fans, and owners pay for them to stand or kneel so as long as you’re getting paid you’re getting paid to do your job, don’t like it quit!
    NASCAR be NASCAR and stop trying to play politics with everyone else, it didn’t need addressed in the first place!

  14. Just to clarify, were the employees told they could not protest at all or just while not while being paid by their employer?

    Something most people don’t realize is the freedom of speech doesn’t extend to work unless your employer condones it.

    When you were employed by USAToday what would the outcome had been if you told your editor you were not turning in an assignment because you were protesting against the National Anthem?

    1. Well said, Chuck. The president changed this whole discussion with his comments. I work for a non-profit and I AM NOT ALLOWED to voice a political opinion during working hours! I can do whatever I want on my own time. These public displays on either side are totally inappropriate in an entertainment or sports arena. A lot of Americans don’t realize that while we have awesome rights to express ourselves, there are still appropriate times and places for these expressions.

  15. I disagree with you Jeff. No one is denying their 1st Amendment rights, but they are there on Richard Petty and Richard Childress dime and time. If “they” want to protest do it on their own time. It is a sport I don’t care to see ones political views I want to be entertained.

  16. Your point is well made, Jeff, but unfortunately, these athletes picked the wrong symbol to exploit (the American flag) as a conduit for their message. Where do we draw the line? What if the same athletes all decided they wanted to stand on top of the King James Bible, or any other religions doctrine, as a way to protest religious tolerance? Would you still tune into the NFL every Sunday then? Maybe you will respond to my specific question, but probably you will continue to speak in platitudes. See, a fairly large segment of Nascar fans are constitutional conservatives and fully understand the power of the 1st Ammendment — I just think many of us made the decision that abusing our Anthem to make a point has gone **wayyyy* to far.

    1. What would you have them do, then? Protesting is supposed to be about rocking the boat. There is not a better way to do it, peacefully, than what is going on right now. It’s causing discussion everywhere, and that is the goal. You can have your opinion of it, that’s fine. Ultimately no one is being hurt, property is not being destroyed, and tough conversations are happening.

      1. Funny no one is talking about the issue of race relations. The issue being discussed is respecting our country’s symbols, rituals and freedom of speech as well as where one has the right to express that freedom. The actual reason for the protest has been lost in the debate so, in some ways, the protest has been a complete failure. You never want the theatrics to bury the message.

  17. Jeff,

    As my interest in NASCAR has waned, yesterday’s “announcement” by several owners was to be the last straw. For all the redneck stereotypes it’s tried to buck, this was sort of a final branding that had me saying “enough is enough”. Reading this, plus seeing what Jr. had to say helps me reaffirm that the sport isn’t just populated by backwards thinking knuckle-draggers. Thanks for that.

    I follow NHRA drag racing and ugh. If you think the NASCAR owner statements were bad, you should see what some of the teams are saying publicly. Completely embarrassing.

  18. Great piece Jeff, never been a Dale JR fan but I’ll be cheering for him from now till the end of the season.
    Even though I’m not American I stand for the anthem as mark of respect to the ideals it stands for or maybe stood for. Shame Petty, Childress and Trump don’t understand what made America great and are helping drag both country and sport to the gutter.

  19. As others have said in the past “you’re free to protest, but you’re not free from the consequences of it”. Being fired from your job is a consequence.

  20. What are they protesting ??? They don’t even know they are just doing it to gain attention !! Protest on your own time before or after the game !! All football players should stay in the locker room until after the anthem has been played !!

  21. Wow, you are way off base, Jeff.
    This Vietnam Vet will not watch any NFL on Veterans day weekend.

    Tebow took a knee lefties got triggered.
    Players take a knee, lefties wet pants.

    And, I was on a knee, firing an M-16 back in the 60s.

  22. Thank you Jeff. I love auto racing. I’ve driven race cars. I’ve worked on race cars. I have loved NASCAR since I was a 5 year old and watched Davey Allison and Ricky Rudd battle at Sears Point in 1991.
    Its to the point that I am embarrassed to let others know that I am a huge NASCAR fan. The dwindling fan base is literally dying off. NASCAR must become truly inclusive if it wants to survive.

    Lets hope teams, drivers, and NASCAR follow Dale Jr’s lead today.

  23. I don’t get Nascar fans. They lecture and lecture about what the confederate flags mean regardless of the historical recorded treasonous and terrorist activities people did under that flag. It’s an Anti-American symbol and yet they must once again lecture the population of what it is the be an “Merican” ….. “TELL IT LIKE IT IS” Just a good ole tip from your uncle ted…. They’ll never see the other side of the argument EVER.

  24. Thank you, Jeff. I completely agree on all points. Personally, I won’t kneel but it is truly Un-American to take away anyone’s rights — particularly in a peaceful manner.

  25. Bullshit. I commend any owner, team or person who takes a stand against this type of petty, foolish insult to the American people. Good job Richard Petty and Richard Childress.

  26. Thank you, Jeff, for saying what I’ve been feeling. Thanks for putting this out there as another perspective to those who paint us all with the same brush.

  27. I understand this is about the right to protest and I get it. However, I guess it is that I am extremely disappointed kneeling for the national anthem has been the chosen vehicle for these protests. I, like you, think the national anthem and the flag should make us stop for a minute and reflect on those who fought for us to have this amazing country we live in today. Yes, we have a lot of problems.. I am not denying that. But during that moment to reflect, we must remember why we have the right to protest. Many, many brave soldiers fought to first allow us to have these rights and fought/fight to continue to allow us to have these rights. So in my opinion, during the anthem is not the time to protest. Again, I said this is my opinion so, I can choose how I support or not support those who protest during the anthem. At the end of the day, that is my right. For that, I stand up and say a big thank you to every single military person who has fought to allow me to be able to make this choice.

  28. While I’m all for the right to protest, protesting the national anthem and flag makes doesn’t make sense to me. These folks have the freedom to speak out about any issue they want BECAUSE it’s central to what America stands for. America isn’t founded on police officer conduct or the decorum of our President. Both sides should be able to agree to celebrate America, if little else.

  29. I respectfully DISAGREE with you Jeff.

    Although I VERY MUCH believe in the “freedom of expression” as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights”~you DON’T have that freedom while you are under the employ of SOMEONE ELSE!

    When I fly a flag on my truck while at an event-I am on MY OWN TIME.

    When you are dressed in a uniform, be it on a race team or the NFL-you are on SOMEONE ELSE’S time! Hence, anything you do reflects on your employer!

    As your “employer” I would be FURIOUS with what I believe is an expression of disrespect of our flag by any of my “guys” are at work.

    When on your own time, do and say what you want to! When on my time, respect the work environment and leave the “protests” at home!

    Why is it that the left in this country don’t understand that respect for the flag means respect for their “right” to be “left”?

    People DIED for ALL of our AMERICAN rights and they died for the LOVE of the flag!!

    Can’t we ALL just respect that flag in honor of their sacrifice? Or is that just a virtue that the left can’t adhere to?

  30. Great article Jeff, and yes NASCAR lost many fans yesterday. Including this Veteran filled family that served for the right to kneel.
    Good ol boy sport will remain a good ol boys sport and will die a slow (self inflicted) death.

    1. Let me guess. By veteran filled family you mean distant relatives, and nobody in your immediate family served? Don’t bother lying to me. No veteran fought for the right to kneel and disrespect the flag. And you didn’t leave NASCAR yesterday wither or you wouldn’t be posting here today. You are a pathetic attention seeking LIAR.

      1. Actually, as Vet that is exactly what we fought for, or fight for. The Constitution and Bill of Rights are much more important documents to the American people then a flag or a song. I stand, I fly the flag, but I also served for your right not to. A soldier stands for all rights, not just the ones you pick and choose.

      2. That is quite a shameful, unnecessary comment that you base on complete speculation. I’m sorry you feel this way.

  31. What the hell does any of this have to do with Dale Jr.? No matter what the issue, whether it be political or actually race-related, I am sick of Junior Nation always bringing it back around to their idol! Bad enough that TV spent 20 minutes covering Junior riding around in 21st place while complaining his feet were hot. Now the Goontards have to chime in on a political piece.

  32. It is certainly a difficult position to be in, and very sad that sports and politics have become so intertwined, but I do not believe that NASCAR needs to or even should make a statement supporting or denouncing either side. Remain neutral on the issue. This is not to say that they don’t need to make any statement at all, because they do. I suspect that the view of the governing body is much the same as my own. Do I support or even understand the reasoning behind the protests? Absolutely not. However, I do fully support an individual’s right to peaceful protest, even if their view may be misguided or different than my own. As a fan, you have the right to make your own choice of rooting interest. If you do not support the position of a certain athlete or team, you can simply stop rooting for that them, and hopefully find another athlete or team to support. The statement that NASCAR needs to release should be something like, “while we do not condone the protests, we fully support the right of an individual to peacefully stand for their own beliefs.” That being said, hopefully we never see these protests come to NASCAR, because I sincerely believe that would be the final nail in the coffin for our sport. For now, I see this as a potential benefit, as maybe some of the people boycotting the NFL can find a new favorite sport to watch on Sundays.

  33. How someone chooses to honor the flag at a sporting event should be up to that individual. It’s a private moment even if within public viewing. It’s a quiet moment of reflection. I don’t know that I would want to work for an employer that threatens dismissal for not responding to the flag in a specific manner. Does America only represent one view? Is a silent personal reflection towards the flag offensive? I find the Confederate flag offensive but I still think one should be able to show that flag because to me that is freedom of speech. Sports used to be a place where we could leave the politics behind and enjoy a common interest.

  34. Jeff,
    You made some excellent points in this article. Over the past 24-48 hours I have been reading and listening to both sides of this story. As Bob Costas said this morning on CNN, because of sports to many people feel the Flag only represents the military and first-responders, who sacrifice and serve our country, as you state in your article the Flag and Anthem stands for much more of that.

    It stands for everything this great country has become and yes even with all the negativity, we’re still a great country. It stands for people even in this comment section to disagree with your opinion. Most importantly the Flag and Anthem stands for our ability as Americas to have an opinion and have the ability to share that opinion without fear of retaliation for sharing, and it stands for everything that makes us American’s.

    Like you I do not agree with Richard Childress or Richard Petty and I am disappointed in this day and age they are still so unwilling to listen and understand people’s thoughts on this topic. I wish people would stop looking at everything through a political lenses and look at things with their eyes and minds wide open and be willing to LISTEN, instead of just sharing an opinion. THANK YOU Jeff for putting into words what I have been struggling to put into words.

  35. This is phenomenal. This is how I feel about all of this put into words. Gluck…this is something everyone should hear.

  36. For some of us the reason for the protest doesn’t matter. Whether what they are protesting is justified or not doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is where they are doing it.
    You wrote “Many patriotic people in NASCAR believe in the right to a peaceful protest. It’s part of being an American and should be celebrated, not punished.”

    I will agree with that when you can state it as “Many patriotic people in NASCAR believe in the right to a peaceful protest WHILE THEY ARE AT WORK. It’s part of being an American and should be celebrated, not punished.”

    When those extra 5 words are added and I have the right to protest or embrace controversial points of view at work without being punished, I will be the first to defend the NFL millionaire athletes doing the same. Until I have that right I don’t feel they should either.

  37. The DISGUSTING rhetoric I have read and had thrown at me since the comments this weekend from a couple of the NASCAR owners is mind boggling.
    I am a huge football and Nascar fan. I believe in the right for the players to peacefully protest and for the Nascar owners to decide what their employees can and can’t do.
    Some may not realize this. When Kaepernick took a knee last year it was just him. Over the past year, 11 players joined him in the NFL at one point or another. That’s it. This was actually dying down and wasn’t gaining any more national prominence. This started out as a protest against police brutality in the African American community – a race issue 100%.
    What changed it this past weekend is when the President called the players sons of bitches. So he now disparages ALL of the players in a single swing AND he was calling the Mothers of these men Bitches. Did anyone think of this?
    He was also telling owners, private citizens that own private companies, what they HAD to do. He was insulting players, their mothers and then saying to fire these people, telling them how to run their businesses. THAT is what got the NFL up in arms this past weekend. That is why the players decided to kneel and lock arms in unity – across the league. That is what propelled 31 out of 32 NFL teams to speak out.
    I stand for the anthem at a sporting event, I sit on my couch at home when it’s played while watching a sporting event. I am not going to force someone to stand while it plays.
    I live in America, a country where my Grandfather, four Uncles & several cousins have fought for. My brother has fought for now 28 years in the US Navy. He lays his life on the line so that those kneeling can kneel. He lays his life on the line so that those who oppose those kneeling can oppose it.
    Our country was founded because we didn’t want to be dictated to by one person, and the brave men and women serving today do so to make sure we keep our freedoms and way of life.
    Regardless of where each of our opinions fall on this current debate, we are allowed to voice that – in some countries you could be jailed or put to death for doing so.
    For those who agree with what the NFL did as a whole this weekend – that is your right. For those who agree with what some of the Nascar team owners said – that is your right.
    Jeff, thank you for your article on this. I personally believe you have it right. And I commend Dale Jr’s comment also because it’s true – doesn’t say where he stands on the issue – but points to something we should nevah forget.
    “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. – JFK”

  38. I watch NASCAR, sports, and movies for entertainment and to take a break from day to day real life. Now it is hard to turn on the TV to anything these days without someone hijacking it for a personal agenda. I love America and our rights!

  39. Well said, Jeff, and I also appreciate the many thoughtful comments here. I am a newer fan- attended many races from 2008-2016 and for many years, was also an “apologist” as some of you above were. In 2006 I fell in love with the sport after attending a Fontana race- people from all walks of life in the stands, all there to enjoy the day! However, I have a hard time now defending a sport in which the leadership continues divisive words and actions: from a president that endorsed a Presidential candidate that isn’t exactly known for his inclusion of all, to not discouraging the use of confederate flags, to most recent team owner statements. Sadly, the stereotype that many believe to be true is looking all the more real in recent years. In a time when many professional sports are losing attendance and viewership, I don’t think NASCAR is doing enough to make potential new fans feel welcome, and this past weekend didn’t help that at all. This year, I am following from a distance.

  40. You have the right to protest. The first amendment protects you from the government; it does not protect you from being fired by your employer.

  41. I understand the sentiment that while you are at work you are required to abide by the rules of the workplace. However, standing and saluting during the National Anthem is a form of political speech and I don’t think employers have the right to force their employees to engage in political speech By doing so employers may be violating an employees political as well as religious freedom as guaranteed by the Constitution. Many faith traditions like the Mennonites don’t allow followers to participate in patriotic celebrations. This issue isn’t as black and white as “stand up you idiot.” Forcing compliance in this instance seems un-American to me. Also, Freedom allows for dissent so how does dying for my freedom require participation in a flag ceremony?

    1. No, it isn’t that cut and dry. The nature of certain jobs means that certain demands can be made upon employees. For instance, if you are an actor and you don’t want to dress up in a certain costume because it violates your (insert reason here), then you won’t be forced to do it, but you will lose your job to someone who is willing to do the part.

      If part of your job as a race car driver/pit crew/water boy, etc. is to stand and represent your team during opening ceremonies, then it is PART OF YOUR JOB. You can choose to quit, or you can be fired for failing to fulfill your obligations.

      No one is being “forced” to do anything. You can choose to drive for a different owner, you can choose to start your own team if none of the current owners are interested in your politics.

      Again, you conflate issues. If the GOVERNMENT was attending every Nascar race, demanding that each person swear fealty to the flag, then that would be an entirely different issue. Nascar and the teams are private, individual entities that are entitled to conduct their business however they see fit (and within government regulations) so them demanding certain things for their show is not infringing on anyone’s rights.

  42. I agree. My local news said NASCAR came out against the protest, not just those two owners, thus painting everyone with the same brush. I believe that a non-violent protest should’ve the choice of the individual, and is their right, whether you agree or not.

  43. I own a company if we issue golden rule,employees don’t follow them ,they will have to search for a new carrer some place else!

    #Army,#NationalGuard& #AirForce have been major partners of NASCAR .For us the Anthem is related to men&women who serve.

    If business partners of raceteam say it’s fine the leader can issue the guideline they want,just do it.There’s between 3600 to 4000 peoples working in the Nascar Community at the racetrack.The minute we arrive at destination,we represent our partners,our salary accomodation & meal are paid them.

    There more than 50 millions fans of Nascar,let’s agree to respect
    our mutual point of vue.Politics was already in our sport w press conference 4 the Trump/Pence campaign,sponsorship on Nascar Truck,stickers on 80% of haulers & more political sign on our way to racetrack 8 mile radius during the last campaign.

    Jeff you are the only one that i’m aware who wrote a piece about it.Congrats for your nerve & courage.

    Looking forward to be at the Monster Mile this week.

  44. Bullshit. I could care less what anyone protests on their own behalf in their own clothes. When someone puts on a uniform then they become a spokesperson for the sport, league, owner, team, crew and sponsors whose names are on the cars, uniforms, commercials and billboards that surround them. Taking a knee tells me that all of those entities agree with that person taking a knee. Make no mistake, if one person in Nascar takes a knee, I will no longer financially support Nascar with my viewership on tv, purchase of raceview or merchandise or at either of the races I attend annually. Their is no point to be made or gained by kneeling for our anthem or in the shadow of our flag other than you are against the United States of America.

    1. OUTSTANDING COMMENT!!!

      Again lets ask ourselves-were we dealing with this kind of rhetoric 9 years ago?

      No! Its when the LEFT took over and now they have NO real patriotism! They seem to think its ok to crap on the flag, the constitution, anything even remotely “american” and then cry “free speech” when they are the ones who are trying to squelch the “free speech” of conservatives at EVERY TURN!

      If you don’t like OUR flag or its anthem, then GET OUT!

      I’m sure the “left” would LOVE their gov’t provided accommodations in China or the USSR….

      ….and YES! I understand this all stupidity started by one ignorant football player who protested a “fantasy problem” (in that black men kill FAR MORE black men than police do!!) and now his legacy is to further divide this nation….

      I’m sick of the mixing of sports and politics that the LEFT has forced upon us! Hasn’t what has happened to ESPN taught anyone anything? Viewership is down BIGTIME for them, as is attendance and viewership for the NFL!

      1. Yes, of course it’s all Obama’s fault that people such as yourself are so angry and hateful. How could we all be so stupid to think otherwise?! Take a long hard look in the mirror as to why NASCAR attendance is down. Debate and opposing views are key to democracy. If you cannot have a mature adult conversation without angry ranting, insulting and diminishing people’s reasons for protesting why would anyone want to spend money to sit next to you all day at a race or all evening at the campground?! Own your beliefs and opinions and don’t blame others for them.

        1. In what way was I “hateful” Kristen?

          (which is right out of the “lefts” playbook when someone opposes them they immediately accuse you of “HATE”…)

          Where are my “insults” ? (see above…)

          Debate we can do all day long Kristen-Just not while either one of us are at work-and certainly not about a “fake issue” brought about by someone not even in NASCAR by a political side that has no idea how to function in FACTS!

          Case in point: Kristen, you said “…Own your beliefs and opinions and don’t blame others for them.” In what way did I blame you, or anyone else on the left for MY beliefs?

          FACT IS: I didn’t.

          FACT: Attendance and ratings have been down LONG BEFORE NASCAR was dragged into this issue. And the ratings slide has NOTHING to do with any SJW issue about kneeling or not for the flag and the anthem.

          One of the things I very much enjoy about NASCAR is its almost exclusively CONSERVATIVE audience-especially at the track. A place I doubt you have EVER been. I have been to 25 Summer races at Daytona, 5 Daytona 500’s, 8 races at Homestead so I KNOW from whence I speak…

          So, in the spirit of ‘debate and opposing views’ that you espouse make up the “key to our democracy” that you want to engage in, please ANSWER my above questions so that we can have an “intelligent and mature conversation”….I only asked 3 questions so it should take you no time to answer them….

  45. I don’t have a problem with them protesting, it’s how they are doing it. I’m not positive everyone understands what they are protesting. What made yesterday bad to me was it was gold star family day, a day that has been around for decades honoring the familys of those fallen military. I am a military spouse and have raised a child that is active duty.Don’t take a knee. Arm in arm I can handle…

  46. I agree with you Jeff. But the thing that made me cringe is seeing the Childress/Petty comments make the front page of many mainstream news websites. My first thought was “great”, now NASCAR is being brought into this mess. Can’t get away from it anywhere. Like I said, I agree with you. However, the other posts that the owners are paying these guys, and if the crew is paid as “at will” employees, they can terminate those employees. The NFL has a players Union which is governed by the collective bargaining agreement signed by all. This is not the case in NASCAR.

  47. Very well said, Jeff. I’m a 72 year old white woman who was born, raised and still lives in a very white small town. Even though I express my opinion, which agrees with yours, it’s very hard to do here in this small Indiana town. I would hate to be a young black man living in this country right now. I pray that this racial divide doesn’t get worse.

    1. If you were a young black man living in this country right now, the greatest threat to your life would be another young black man. But BLM – and the Democrat Party in general – doesn’t care about that. It’s all about blaming whitey for all the evil in the world – you know, the same race that was the first to recognize the evil of slavery and decided to do something about it, spending blood and treasure ending it across the globe. Never let a good deed go unpunished, I guess.

      1. Not Sure– I’m pretty sure the black slaves recognized the evil of slavery long before the “whitey”. Your post is so ridiculous I laughed out loud.

        1. If black people recognized the evil of slavery, why did they enslave other black people? There is still slavery in parts of Africa (there were recent news reports it has returned to Libya thanks to Hillary Clinton), but since whitey isn’t the owner no one cares since there is no way to extort money from said whitey.

          Whites were the first to recognize the evil of slavery (it was considered an unavoidable fact of life for as long as human civilization had been around) AND do something about it. Sorry you didn’t get that.

  48. Americans do have the right to disrespect the anthem/flag, whether by kneeling or burning it or whatever else. It’s a free country after all. The problem is this protest isn’t persuasive – it’s intentionally divisive in fact – and people questioning their patriotism is to be expected if not warranted. Childress and Petty have every right to fire any malcontent disrespecting the country like that, just as Google had the right to fire James Damore for his memo (the same firing cheered on by those insisting here in this instance they care about freedom of speech).

    As for NASCAR, the higher-ups shouldn’t say a word about this. If they try to appeal to a bunch of whiny SJWs who will NEVER watch a single second of any race, their attendance and TV ratings slide will continue. They are already in a hole as it is thanks to the endless litany of terrible rules changes they’ve made since Brian France took over – the same rules changes advocated for and/or defended by the media covering it – so I suggest they ignore the media here. (And save me the lecture on the Confederate flag while the feral left proudly displays the hammer and sickle flag every time they protest with nary a word said by our “social betters” in the media.)

    The irony in all of this is that Kapernick is a far-left Marxist who doesn’t even believe in free speech or any individual rights for that matter – this is assuming he’s not just a puppet who is merely parroting whatever his whackjob girlfriend tells him.

  49. Thank you Jeff. I was happy to see the official NASCAR response. Some will say it is weak, but what are they supposed to do? They got dragged into this. I was hoping a driver would have the courage to kneel, but know that due to sponsorship and such that it wasn’t going to happen.

  50. It would have been entirely appropriate for Childress and Petty to tell their employees that they would be fired for kneeling during the anthem while at the track. Their right to do so. I’m not sure how many African American employees each shop has, since the protest is about police brutality, not the flag, but it is their right…in house. By announcing it to the general public, they have, in effect, ‘spoken’ for Nascar and it’s fans. Not for me. Thank you for putting so eloquently into words my feelings on the matter.

  51. Baloney, Jeff. Most sports now have the inmates running the asylum. Unfortunately, NASCAR management can act in rather insane ways so we might be better off the other way round. (A little humor to lighten things up).

    All sports need to have rules of conduct and if you violate the rules, you’re penalized.

    What you support are “mico protests” that don’t really hurt things all that much. But the line will be pushed and pushed and pushed until there is no line.

    Free expression outside the workplace is an entirely different topic. Inside the workplace, you abide by the rules or you find a new employer.

  52. It is what it is, a southern sport. They tried to expand to the northeast and the west, made it family friendly, handicap accessible, politically correct for the love of greed and it’s failing. This might be the nail in the coffin

  53. Great read all around. To be honest, I have never been a fan of Dale Jr for various reasons, but I cannot commend the man enough for having the guts to speak up about how he felt today. It is time hopefully soon enough to get old, rich white owners like Petty and Childress out of this sport. Those are old, tired views that will do nothing but repress Nascar and continue the stereotype it has carried since its beginning. Protesting and kneeling is EXACTLY what solders fought for. They fought for your freedom to stand or kneel as your please. If we want to dive into Fascism and force someone to stand for an anthem, we inch closer to North Korea. If Childress or Petty wants to fire someone over protesting, that is also OK. They own a private company and can do as they please, but if owners are OK with their employees protesting, absolutely nothing wrong with that. Maybe Childress and Petty should look in the mirror to see why their own companies are mostly midpack teams nowadays and worry less about trying to throw their old tired, old brand of patriotism out there that does nothing but give Nascar a black eye in the end.

  54. Issues aside. The fact is both parties are displaying their freedom. You are free to kneel or hold up in the locker room during the anthem. But as an owner of a team or a paying patron you are also free to let that person(s) know that those actions do not align with your companies values and that your services may not be needed. You cannot complain about the freedom of only one side.

  55. Freedom of speech, and disrespecting the American flag is two separate things. I’m great with freedom of speech, and feel like we’ve already lost too much of it. However those who feel there is social injustice, or feel a particular race is oppressed should find another way to get their message across. I don’t know of anything that has changed in society since the kneeling began.

  56. For years I have watched the TV as teams play with their equipment, chit chat, laugh at whatever joke they are telling while the national anthem is being broadcast. Every week we see it televised on NASCAR broadcasts. Some of them are from teams who spoke out. If it was so important for these teams that full attention be given, why haven’t these drivers and team members been reprimanded before these statements were made publically about participating in something that is a peaceful thing? Why are people selling food and drinking and smoking while the anthem is played?

    In most sports, kneeling is a sign of respect in a distressful situation. Players kneel in all the time when someone is injured or being taken care of…a distressful situation. No one is taking a knee and giving the finger. People are taking a knee in a distressful time in our country. They are voicing an opinion which is part of what the American Flag represents our ability to do freely.

    Until the owners speaking out are down there babysitting their teams every week to make sure they not being disruptive telling jokes and doing anything but being quiet, I think they have little room to talk. They have let us watch them act in ways other than standing silent for too long already.

  57. The problem is the right to fly the flag of our southern heritage was taken away and called racist by others. Free Speech has to he free for all or it really isn’t freedom for all..

    1. You do realize that the “flag of your heritage” was created because the south no longer wanted to be a part of he United States. By flying it you are a rebelling against patriotism.

  58. My thoughts on the issue is complicated. I’ll try to keep my words concise. I don’t want to focus on the ongoing debate about kneeling during the national anthem. I’d like to ask a question about the connection to racing and NASCAR, as I am honestly a bit confused.

    First off, I think that the Richard Petty and Richard Childress comments have been blown massively out of proportion by a certain 24 hour news network. To a lot of folks, I’m sure this validates the belief that Petty is speaking for the sport. He’s an owner, a struggling one at that, and should not be taken as the voice of NASCAR.

    Now to my main point: I fail to see how the ongoing debate about kneeling during the National Anthem is somehow NASCAR’s fault and damaging the sport. Is it because of the comments mentioned by the owners? President Trump’s Tweets? The NASCAR media bringing it up today? I just struggle to see the direct connection that is making some ‘ashamed to be a fan’ today.

    I know the sport has a largely conservative fan base, and that makes it a target for some on the left. But seriously, how did we all get dragged into this? This was the NFL’s and Trump’s problem last I checked. Now maybe there is something I missed here, a piece of news I overlooked. If anyone can clear this up for me, It’d be much appreciated.

  59. 1. I would guess that a significant number of people, if asked to explain why some athletes have chosen to kneel during the anthem, would be completely unable to do so; it has nothing to do with disrespecting the anthem or the country; it is a peaceful means of protest during a time of greater and greater racial unrest in our country
    2. People are absolutely right that freedom of speech doesn’t extend to the private workplace (the rules are a little different for govt/public employees)
    3. I find the number of people on here who say “He who has the gold, makes the rules” really disheartening — and myopic. Any company is only as good as the people it hires. What’s the worth of the Jacksonville Jaguars vs the New England Patriots?
    4. Large, successful companies seek to attract people from the broadest pool possible, believing — and rightly so, as studies have borne out — that a diverse workforce leads to a more successful business
    5. So, if Childress or Petty want to only hire people who have beliefs that mirror their own, that’s absolutely their right; but the Childress organization certainly isn’t the powerhouse it once was, and Petty’s hasn’t been a contender for years
    6. NASCAR’s numbers keep dwindling, for what I feel is a long list of reasons. But aligning with Trump (who, objectively, has dismal poll numbers) and having major faces like Childress and Petty sound like Archie Bunker (“America: love it or leave it!”) NASCAR is doing nothing to expand its base and appear as anything other than a sport of interest to old, white people; NASCAR is going to go the way of the Edsel
    7. Dale Jr’s tweet today of the JFK quote was awesome

  60. Again lets ask ourselves-were we dealing with this kind of rhetoric 9 years ago?

    No! Its when the LEFT took over and now they have NO real patriotism! They seem to think its ok to crap on the flag, the constitution, anything even remotely “american” and then cry “free speech” when they are the ones who are trying to squelch the “free speech” of conservatives at EVERY TURN!

    If you don’t like OUR flag or its anthem, then GET OUT!

    I’m sure the “left” would LOVE their gov’t provided accommodations in China or the USSR….

    ….and YES! I understand this all stupidity started by one ignorant football player who protested a “fantasy problem” (in that black men kill FAR MORE black men than police do!!) and now his legacy is to further divide this nation….

    I’m sick of the mixing of sports and politics that the LEFT has forced upon us! Hasn’t what has happened to ESPN taught anyone anything? Viewership is down BIGTIME for them, as is attendance and viewership for the NFL….

    Jeff, you “millenials” seem to have no real respect for this countries values and virtues. You have found yourselves brainwashed by those on the left who want to lead our country into being socialist instead of the God loving, freedom enjoying country that we are desperately trying to hold onto!

    Free Speech is fine-but not while you are at work representing someone else…..

    But the deeper and most troubling thing is this question: Why disrespect and/or desecrate the flag to begin with?? At work or otherwise??

    Those are NOT traditional or historic NASCAR values and its high time that leaders in our sport like Petty and Childress speak up on this issue.

    Bravo…..

  61. Just as the reasons for NASCAR’s decline did not begin this season, the divisiveness in the USA did not begin with the election or statements of Donald Trump. 60 Minutes has a segment on a focus group of Michigan voters. The most telling comment may have been at the end — people are no longer speaking the same language when they talk (or write). If you are black your experience is far different that mine. Attempts to understand each other degenerate all to often into shouting “I’m right!” Matches.

  62. I didn’t read every comment, but here is a point I don’t think anyone is thinking about:

    Let’s assume a driver wants to take part in an anthem protest. How is his sponsor going to feel about that? How is his manufacturer going to feel about that? Think about the companies that participate in NASCAR and who those companies cater to.

    Would it be so crazy to think that a sponsor would step in and strongly advise their driver/team to refrain from any form of protest? We’ve already seen Subway leave Suarez because he passed out donuts. With so few sponsors willing to spend their money in NASCAR, you better make sure they’re okay with whatever public demonstration you want to make.

    Drivers are in a very tough spot here. Assuming they want to protest, you risk alienating a large portion of your fan base.

    I personally disagree with the protests and I hate that NASCAR has been pulled into it. What frustrates me is that because the NFL stages a protest, every other sport is now expected to follow suit or at the very least comment on it. And that puts the sport, whether it’s NASCAR, NBA, NHL, etc in a no-win situation. Regardless of what is said, it’s going to piss one side off.

  63. Jeff Gluck, I ALWAYS value your opinions and analysis even when I do not completely agree. STILL A PAID SUPPORTOR OF YOU. Now to my opinion.
    Each team (employer) can set their own Code of Conduct for their employees and in a lot of cases it may be heavily influenced by the Code of Conduct in the Sponsor Agreements and Sanctioning Body Agreements. Each member of the team should adhere to that Code of Conduct. If standing respectfully during the National Anthem is part of the Code of Conduct then do it or find a different employer. It is okay to question those Codes of Conducts but until changed….follow it. If not sure, ASK before ACTION so as not to risk the sponsorship and your job.

    BUT if the employees are allowed the opportunity to express their opinions/protest during Anthem or other times, then I have absolutely no problem with it. It is their personal opinion/protest and as long it does not prevent me from mine then it is no impact/harm to me. I will lose no sleep over it.
    I am and all my friends do stand with our caps off and over our heart during the Anthem at sporting events but that is our choice and no one else’s since we are paying fans and not under contract with a team.
    One question to all those that think this is some kind of huge sin to do something other than what I do at the sporting events: Do you ALWAYS do the same when the anthem is played while you are watching a sporting event on TV from home, at friends, or at a bar, etc.? My experience is most people (including me) do not unless at a big party like a Superbowl party. So what is the difference?…..the anthem is still being played. Should be blasted for this also?

  64. I feel that the President was complimenting NASCAR for the sport’s respect for the flag, anthem and military. I do no have a problem with peaceful protest, just the way it is being presented. The NFL are hypocrites in that they approve this protest as freedom of speech, but basically ran Tim Tebow out for his freedom if speech. They indescribable the protest elsewhere and play football or they might nit have viewers left.

  65. Dale jr doesn’t make NASCAR what it is! Those who believe it, retire too! You’re not a fan of NASCAR, your a JR. Flunky. I’ve been enjoying the sport for 45 years. If you leave good, you won’t be missed by the likes of us. Nascar will outlive any sport in the US. So if you don’t stand for YOUR reason, BEAT IT!

  66. Sorry Jeff but I disagree with your point that there is a 1st amendment right to free speech at an event I am paying money to watch. These athletes are employees and represent their employers. They do NOT have a right to say and do whatever they want. Period. They can say what they want on their own time. But not when they are working. I will not pay of visit a business the disrespects me. Those who have served or are patriotic take it as an insult to disrespect the flag. Why should we as an owner or a customer have to put up with employees saying and doing whatever they feel like. I am disappointed.

  67. As a vet, a southerner and a NASCAR fan thanks to my husband (also a vet), I’ve really hated what I’ve seen in comments for and against southern culture and NASCAR itself over the past few days. I set out to view articles such as yours to see what was being said about the weekend’s events within the sport, and I appreciate your words and hope others will read them. I’m sure I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know in terms of NASCAR having a poor image when it comes to race, Confederate flag waving and what not. But for those car owners to come out and threaten people’s jobs if they dare make peaceable protest relating to an issue that has upset so many fellow Americans, I just feel hurt. Very hurt. I guess to “kneel” myself I’ll just have find something other than a Logano T-shirt to give my husband for his birthday.

  68. With respect to the point about private employers having codes of conduct while being on the job – Petty and Childress did not make nuanced statements about their company policies. They made political statements, and represented the entire sport as they commented. They represent the sponsors just as much as the team employees, and knew exactly what they were doing…….

    1. I don’t see what your point is, though… they OWN the teams, so therefore they are able to make statements about what the teams values are – whether they are political or not. The fallout from that is on their shoulders, of course.

      In fact, let’s just say hypothetically that Richard Petty came out and said that he attended KKK rallies. As an employee at RPM, you might be appalled by that and choose to quit. As a sponsor, you may pull your sponsorship citing morals clauses. So, there is certainly fallout from making statements about anything political – which is why most companies do the best they can to stay neutral.

      As far as how they represented the sport – who knows how the charter agreements are written out. Perhaps NASCAR can protect itself from wayward owners through the charters, and perhaps it cannot. If we all recall Donald Sterling (Formerly the owner of the Los Angela’s Clippers) the NBA banned him for life after racist comments came out, but they had the ability to do that through their franchise agreements.

      The thing with Childress and Petty, though, is that they didn’t say anything heinous. They said that they don’t agree with kneeling during the anthem, and that they wouldn’t tolerate that behavior in their own companies. That isn’t “racist” or “intolerant.” That is stating what they expect of their employees. It is also giving their opinion on a current political situation, but that is their right as a team owner. It is our right as citizens to decide whether or not to support those teams, and for sponsors on whether or not they want to associate with those teams.

  69. Basically Petty and Childress made it clear they support Trump. They believe it’s their right to dictate to their employees what the employee will believe in and support or face termination. Working at either then is not only about how well you do your job and contribute to your team (meritocracy and earning your paycheck by contribution) but just as much about your political view as well. At least we now know that these team owners are willing to violate civil liberties and demand a political point of view as a condition of employment.

    The “good old boys” club indeed.

    1. Hey Todd:

      In what way does enforcing company policy “violate an employee’s civil liberties?”.

      Also, where in their statements did they endorse Trump?

      They NEVER said that an employee had to believe ANYTHING. They just stated that certain public displays of unpatriotic behavior will not be tolerated.

      By the way, as I have asked other liberals here in this thread: In what way is disrespecting our flag and anthem, and those who died for it, a GOOD THING? Where is the virtue in this kind of disrespect? Whether or not it occurs at work?

    2. They only said how they expect their employees to represent their company while at the track. I do not read anything in their statements that said the employees can not hold different political views. Typical liberal reinterpreting someone’s words.

  70. Well said Jeff. No not all fans are monochromatic in their opinions. I actually you broached, see both sides but come down on ONE side. Freedoms.
    Much like I believe Petty , man I still admire but disagree with apparently ON THIS, but he as well gets a OPINION.
    via la difference.
    Cheers.

  71. Sorry Jeff, I disagree. America certainly affords those who wish to take a stand an opportunity to speak and protest. That is a right uniquely guaranteed in America.

    However, those who would “take a knee” during the National Anthem are attacking the vey symbol of the nation that guarantees that right. They are not taking a stand against social injustice. They are taking a stand against the United States of America and two iconic symbols of this great nation. If you want to take a stand against social injustice, by all means please do so. But do not impugn the honor of my country by protesting in such a manner that you accuse it, and me, of supporting social inequality. That will not go down well. And I have every right to issue my own protest against such a demonstration.

  72. Jeff, thank you for putting into words exactly what I was thinking/feeling. I was disappointed in Petty and Childress statements but I was horrified when I as a NASCAR fan was lumped together with them by presidential tweet. While I don’t think taking a knee is respectful, and certainly not something I would choose to do but we live in a country where peaceful protest is also a right. Shouldn’t we be more concerned with things like Puerto Rico and health care, instead we are taking about this.

  73. NFL players taking a knee has always been a protest against police brutality and massive inequality, not a protest against the flag, anthem or military. Those who don’t want to be confronted with the ugly reality of life in America for minorities are quick to turn it into an attack on the flag, but they’re missing the point on purpose. As for patriotism, there’s a very narrow definition of that term in play here – almost a blind form of nationalism that is both dangerous and immature. Because of this, the flag waving and exploiting of military personnel makes us all look like provincial bumpkins while serving as a wedge to divide and distract us. Dale Jr is a true patriot, pointing out the whole range of rights this nation’s constitution affords us all, and I hope he continues to speak out.

    As for the right time and place, well, the NFL players nailed it. All the folks who are bitching about their choice of timing and venue are exactly the people who need to be made very uncomfortable by this protest. I hope the squirming continues until ya’ll get the damned point and stop letting white privilege blind you. Do your nation a favor and stop being a part of the problem. It’s the truly patriotic option.

    1. Why don’t you do the country and African-Americans a favor and work to improve their community instead of blaming whitey for everything. The AA community has the highest crime rate of any group in the nation and yet it is still “blame whitey” for everything. I won’t be squirming at all because I am boycotting the NFL and you leftists.

    2. Let me ask you this “Bash”…

      Would you then not mind people flying the Rebel flag at NASCAR events? As is their right to “freedom of expression”?

      Or is THAT public display of “freedom of speech” not be tolerated?

      If you are a person of color (I wont make that assumption) what say you to the number of murders that occur in a “black on black” fashion in our country?

      I only ask because you espouse to care so much about “the ugly reality of life in America for minorities”….. yet you seem to want to continue a protest against the very men and women charged with trying to prevent the murders that occur between urban black males….

      I agree-YOU should do the “patriotic thing” and STAND UP for the men and women who protect this nation on a daily basis!

  74. Not one person said they didn’t have the right to protest, but you leftists seem to think people are infringing on other people’s rights when they choose to boycott something because they would rather see a game and not political protest. The left has NEVER respected the right to free speech, only for those who agree with them. They spent 8 years trying to shut down any type of speech that disapproved of Barack Obama. They constantly try to shut down free speech. There is even a group on Facebook committed to criminalizing conservatism entitled just that “criminalize conservatism.” I am sick and tired of hearing the left talk about free speech when they don’t respect it at all.

  75. Wonderfully written. Thank you for putting into words what many of us needed to hear/see. That goes for Earnhardt, Jr. too. You guys are what makes NASCAR and this country a better place.

  76. Jeff, I should have become a patron of yours at the start of the season. This post reminded me of that and I’ve signed up. Thanks for your continued honesty.

  77. So what you’re saying is that it’s ok to protest, because of free speech, but it’s not ok for other people to exercise THEIR free speech against the protest? Sounds like you just want to have your cake and eat it too. We don’t need that anti-American garbage seeping into this sport like it has other sports. There are still dead bodies of U.S. soldiers sitting at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and you want to whine about Americans that have a problem with this anti-American free speech rhetoric? You just lost a fan, pal. Best of luck to you.

  78. As a longtime fan, former diehard, who has been drifting away, this pushed me further. NASCAR’s weak-ass nothing statement didn’t help. I needed them to hit back against this nonsense. It’s time somebody did and it would have put them on the right side of this arguement. There was a time when nascar was a trendsetter in this country and the had an opportunity to be so again. The publicity might have made them relevant again, and that’s what they should be craving, not the approval of a couple old white dudes.

    1. Hey Nick-

      You DO understand that Trump gave NASCAR a HUGE COMPLIMENT while he dissed the anti-american rehtoric of the NFL?

      1. Compliments on from an old racist on being just racist enough are compliments I could do without.
        Also notice I managed to say that with random all caps.
        Proud.

        1. You call Trump a “racist”…..

          Let me “school you” right now!

          Have you ever been to any of his rallys or seen one on TV? Probably not.

          I have-I have been to 2 of them. One pre-election and one post.

          At BOTH meetings, with tens of thousands of people present, he opened up the rally with a BLACK pastor doing the opening prayer. He then had Diamond, a BLACK you tube conservative start BOTH rally’s…….

          But YOU don’t know this because you tune into “fake news” sources who wouldn’t show you the truth if your life hinged on it!

          So despite opening his rally’s with black people in prominent roles, according to you and your ilk, he is still a “racists”??

          That does not even begin to approach ANYTHING looking like the truth……

          Truth is Trump is NOT a racist. How can he be with what he does to open his rally’s ??

          You can dislike him all you want. i get that……but the “racist” insult is simply another liberal “non-truth” in the worst way…

  79. Wow talk about intolerance, freedoms (of speech and right to protest) well don’t Childress and Petty have the same right?!
    I come from their generation and we were brought up respecting many things no longer respected; each other, parents, neighbors, the President. But yet we are being told to respect others rights to “freedom”!
    I remember my parents and grandparents feeling angst at the way things changed with “my generation!” We went from Frank Sinatra or The Shondells to Grateful Dead and they were appalled!
    So know we go from entertaining sports to athletes, owners, etc bringing politics into the arena! Jane Fonda is a good example of how it can end! It took her many years to rebuild her career after her political/career debacle!
    Us older folks just don’t get it and the younger ones don’t get us!
    We will just have to agree to disagree!
    But NASCAR had been the “sport of the south” for many years. The Yanks has to earn their place then the west coast folks had to earn theirs! Differences have been a part of our sport ever since it began. But the France family alwaysdemanded an unspoken (or sometimes spoken) respect for the sport, NASCAR! Let’s get back to that!
    With attendance and interest waning this is NOT the time to focus on our differences but to unite in finding our respect for our sport and remembering how much the champions and racers of past gave to this sport so it could go on and still offer great competition and entertainment for all of its fans!
    PS I am a part of JuniorNation but Jeff’s posts weren’t about Junior. I am not sure how he and his retirement became the sole subject of so many comments! NASCAR is much bigger than ONE MAN or ONE DRIVER! It’s about a family! We need to focus on that!

  80. A very good read and certainly not going to be popular with the many NASCAR fans. NASCAR has been married to God and Country from its inception. It’s drivers, owners and fans are wrapped in the flag (ironically, not approved by the flag code). In my youth, I wore my patriotism on my sleeve also and I would have been appalled by someone disrespecting the flag because, somehow they were disrespecting me when they did so and the flag was deserving of reverence because of what it stands for.

    After 7 years of service in the military and an additional 30+ years of seasoning, the words I spoke to protect and defend the constitution come ringing back with fresh meaning. While I personally would choose a different approach to a protest, I celebrate that I live in a country where someone can peacefully protest during the playing of the national anthem. This is part of the freedom that I would have given my life for to protect. This is the freedom that the flag truly stands. Celebrate that.

    What is being lost in the rhetoric, is what is behind the protest. A plea for equality. A plea for equal treatment under the law. Let that discussion begin in earnest and the take a knee thing will be a footnote in history.

  81. As a kid I loved sports cars and from that love of sports cars grew my love for watching cars go fast. Thus I turned to anything on tv that showcased that guilty pleasure like NASCAR or INDYCAR racing and boy was I hooked. I loved watching Jeff Gordan race and take on Dale Sr. Or guys like Bill Elliott or Dale Jarrett or Michael Andretti or Paul Tracy in INDY. I would go to NASCAR races in California Speedway or INDYCAR races at Long Beach. I would buy NASCAR video games and pretend I was a racer in the field taking on the big boys…I was a huge fan of NASCAR. All the while never once can I remember seeing a driver who looked like me…African-American…sitting behind the wheel of a big league Cup Series stock car and I’m 45 years old. I didn’t see many people of color in the pits, behind the wall or in the stands yet I still loved racin. I loved watching on tv and listen to Darrell Waltrip say…boogity, boogity…boogity…lets go racin’ boys!!!

    I knew what the culture of NASCAR was and I was fine with it back then but as the years went on it (NASCAR) never seemed to I dunno…look for those to drive who didn’t look like the others. To try and bring others who looked like me into the Cup Series and something changed in me as I got older and I didn’t feel as interested in the sport of NASCAR not because of who was drivin’ the cars…but rather because of who wasn’t.
    I know people want to try and conflate this issue of taking a knee into a flag and patriotism issue (Childress and Petty) and it truly isn’t about that. Peacefully kneeling to say hey let’s bring some light to a tough subject America about racial injustice some are feeling in this country and let’s try and make change for the bettter should not be met with you’re a POS or a SOB and you’ve got money now so what the hell are you athletes complaining about?!? Peaceful protest are never convenient nor are they comfortable…just FYI. Yet they should never be told they don’t have a right to exists…because that is yet the very nature upon what this country was founded on. Sadly NASCAR missed an opportunity here to finally say….we are for inclusion, we are for everyone in this country feeling equal and being fairly treated. But instead, they allowed Trump to pull them down to his level and his narrative thus missing a chance to show people who may not be their majority fan base that they finally get it. And that the right to have freedom of expression, freedom of speech and liberty is standing up for your country….it just might not be dressed up in what you’re used to seein’.
    P.s. great article Jeff Gluck

    1. Whats the real “issue” here that all these players are protesting ?? The FALSE claim about how bad police are treating minorities because if you REALLY study out the so called “problem” of police brutality, 90% of the time the force used was required because of the suspects behavior. Also-if you want to avoid being confronted by law enforcement-DON’T COMMIT THE CRIME. But I digress. Here is the real issue:

      If you really “CARE” about this issue why isn’t anything being done about the MASSIVE amount of “black on black” crime? The biggest threat to a young black male in this country is ANOTHER young black male and NOT the police who are out there trying to prevent these crimes and violence to no avail….

      Black people represent 13% of the countries population yet commit more than 60% of the violent crime. How does that reflect on a race every time you watch the news and see another rape or murder or robbery committed by a “black suspect”? Crime for whatever reason is RAMPANT in the black community….

      And these communities are almost ALWAYS run by clueless liberal democrat gov’ts that create the conditions for all this crime because of lack of good opportunities and jobs. Socialist programs do NOT create urban prosperity for the black community. (Can any lib explain Detroit or Chicago to me if socialist left leaning policies are supposed to be “SOOO GOOD” FOR PEOPLE??)

      And many black people are wising up to this fact and voting conservative.

      Also, did you know that there are more blacks and minorities serving as ELECTED REPUBLICANS by a wide margin than DEMOCRATS? Yet somehow the democrat party is supposed to be “for the black man”??? Can ANY libby out there explain that to me??

      Lest you call me a “racist” (which is one of the things libs ALWAYS do because they can’t come back at you with FACTS) my neighbors are black and my wife and I love them like family!! I have other black friends also. Race matters not one bit for me, but libs and the democrat party are OBSESSED with it!

      1. 47 current members of congress are identified as being black American. 2 of these members are Republican. Never let facts get in the way of your argument.

        1. For those of you that have trouble with math, there are 45 black democrats currently in congress and 2 black republican congress men.

        2. Andy…my statement was based on minorities serving across ALL levels of gov’t-Ferderal , State and local…..(including 1 supreme court appointee who is Black CONSERVATIVE appointed by a REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT!!)

          My FACT STANDS!!

          plus I hear NOTHING from you about Detroit or Chicago, or black on black violent crime..

  82. Thank you for this article. I grew up going to NASCAR races and have been to more races than I can count, all over the Midwest and east coast of the United States. In the last five years I’ve been to three races. I honestly can’t take it anymore and I will continue to pull away from the sport as its owners and fans dig their heels in. It becomes harder to bite my tongue and I’m not about to get into a fight with a drunk fan in the crowd. From the continuous sexist remarks (“girls don’t belong in a car!” as Danica drives by) to the unbelievable racism (“fucking Mexican!” as Suarez crossed the finish line at Homestead). These are no longer my people. And it makes me sad. I don’t know if NASCAR will weather the storm, and honestly, maybe they don’t deserve to.

  83. You fail to realize that its not the right of free speech that the sport is intolerant too. If that were the case a lot more interviews over the years would have seen more controversy. The fact of the matter is our sport respects and honors the anthem and all that it stands for. We thank those who have protected our great nation. Its not a right to have a job. It is a right to have free speech. No one is taking that away from anyone nor should they. But as an employer its my right to hold true to what I believe is the values of my company. If the free speech of one jeopardizes the image of that then I should have the right to go in another direction. Maybe RCR put that a little more bluntly but hey thats his freedom of speech your so upset about. Lets see you write something on here that you know is controversial but are so passionate about knowing it could cost you your job. Do these owners not have rights to protect their business from what they see as a disrespectful act of your free speech? The REAL problem is we want to be free with out consequences, well sir that just really isn’t going to work in reality. FYI Im no supporter of waving anything but the American flag but I will tell you there seemed to be a lot of folks that were fired due to the confederate flag flying that you failed to mention. Did that not help your rhetoric? Free speech isn’t one sided it never will be, but the consequences of your actions will always be there no matter what you choose to say.

  84. I have never before been motivated to post a comment or a blog, but today, I have reach my level of being quiet.

    I used to go to races every year over the past 20 years. Been to Dover, NH, Charlotte, Talladega, Daytona and I live 4 MILES from Atlanta, (so what’s that tell you…). Busch, Trucks, Xfinity Cup, whatever you want to call them today… and even went with my black friends… never saw “race” or politics at any race.

    Let’s keep a couple of things in mind. “How fast you want to go equates to How much do you want to spend?” and Racing depends on ON-TRACK performance, not the color of one’s skin.
    NASCAR would welcome drivers from other ethnic backgrounds if their early performance demonstrated the skills, determination, and social amenities, all three traits together at one-time, that makes for successful professional drivers.

    Also, most minority families see the road to money and fame thru baseball, football or basketball. Just go to any field/court within 50 miles of AMS and you’ll see families spending thousands on equipment for their child to be a standout in high school sports. That same money could be spent on a dirt car, at a local track, learning car control and sponsor representation.

    Diversity programs do NOTHING but promote entitlement. The collective mindset in society is everybody deserves a participation award. Both my two sons were over 6’6″ tall, had good basketball skills, were both the only Caucasian players on their teams, and played the least. But they also raced go-carts, bandaleros ( against Chase Elliott) and now do autocross. I don’t have deep pockets like Bill.(lol… see the how fast comment 😉 )

    When a driver or a crew member puts a suit on, he/she is representing the TEAM, and has a job to do. They get paid to do a PROFESSIONAL HOBBY. Therefore, their personal opinions on politics, etc., are not needed or welcome. We all don’t go around prophetizing our religion, beliefs, sexual preferences in our co-workers face at work, so why is it any different here.

    If was to go into the office and spout how much I am dissatisfied with society today, I’m pretty sure, no confident, that I would be handing my access key and computer in on my way out the door.

    We should all take a step back and realize that ALL PROFESSIONAL SPORTS are ENTERTAINMENT. A time to forget the BS that is all around and watch any sport be played honestly, and with integrity. Sports are not the theater for politics, the voting machines and elections are.

    Sorry for the long post….. thanks for listening.

    1. Great post. I totally agree with you. I cannot, for the life of me, understand the thinking processes of those who refuse to understand that when you are beholden to someone else to pay your paycheck, you cannot just do whatever you want and expect no blow-back.
      So, I do not understand Gluck’s position on this. Should he decide to take a position in print which his employer disagreed with, would he not expect to be fired? If he does expect this, then he’s a fool.

    2. Very well said buddy! Great points made, especially for this being the first comment you have ever made Big daddy!

  85. Along the same lines, should we not be respectful of the opinion of the “old guard” as well? Why should tolerances be extended to the opinions of some but not of others? In my opinion that is what has gotten us to this point, increasingly negative opinions about other people’s opinions. Truly curious on your thoughts on this.

  86. Just because you have a right doesn’t always make your actions right.From what you are saying you don’t feel like RICHARD Childress or RICHARD Petty have the right to hire and fire as they choose.I think they do have that right.

  87. Stand up and Be a proud American, Love it or Leave it. I don’t think it is that hard to do. You take every thing American has to offer you should be proud of it.
    !

  88. For several decades I was able to overlook the Confederate flags and other evidence of values I do not hold – for the racing, the speed, the competition. As our country continues to be stagnant in advancing equality 53 years after the Civil Rights Act, it is simply too difficult to overlook any longer.

    Aside from racism and politics, the sport began a downhill slide with too much corporate money, bland personalities and sound alike PR speils, and expansion of the schedule and boring 1.5 mile ovals where I can’t turn on the TV and know what track I’m seeing without – literally – the writing on the wall.

    The facts are that young people are not into cars as in past decades – maybe due to recognizing climate change, maybe due to their economic situation, maybe because of a preference for the electronic screen – some of all of these reasons. The facts are that membership is organized religion is down. Veneration of the military without consideration of the rights of our country to invade others is perhaps overkill.

    So, really, the sport is a sport of the old – and perhaps the conservatives. Perhaps it is a Southern sport and national expansion met with a broader range of values.

    The worst thing? The racing is boring. The points system and playoff systems are stupid. Fans and corporate interests are turned off and the sport is in permanent decline.

  89. I have wondered when the political camel would stick it’s nose under the professional sports tent what would be the result… the result is uglier than I imagined….

  90. Certainly, Jeff Gluck has the right to kiss every black person’s ass in America which is obviously his choice.
    However, not everyone feels the same as he does. What he needs to learn is to be tolerant of others instead of practicing intolerance people like him accuse others of.

  91. I don’t care about peaceful protests, what bothers me is using what was once a nice way to relax and unwind as a place to take a stance against the politics in our country. Taking a knee is no longer seen as being for solidarity. Unfortunately for those viewing it on TV it looks like a political statement. Frankly I’m sick and tired of all of it. If drivers decide to become sheep and go with the latest flock mentality at the next NASCAR race and take a knee. I’m done with the sport forever.

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