NASCAR Cup driver Brad Keselowski, who often delivers passionate -- and sometimes controversial -- takes on the sport and society, wanted to make sure his fans know why he stands for the national anthem, as he posted a series of tweets Tuesday night on the issue.
Keselowski had tried to explain in a tweet Sunday how he feels about protests during the national anthem.
I can get behind trying to make the world a better place, Can't get behind putting down others; kneeling clearly does both. https://t.co/Ri2RQqwP4T— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) September 25, 2017
The Team Penske driver, who penned a blog on the issue a year ago, didn't tweet much more, but he felt compelled to comment after reading the opinion of a Huffington Post contributor that white athletes who don't protest are standing for white supremacy.
Keselowski started with a screenshot of the story and stating: "My reps want me to stay out of this, I CAN'T. 2 all my friends & supporters, I support your civil rights 100% PLEASE DON'T believe this."
I #Choose2honor our country and hope other do too out of my respect and love for a country that has provided us so many blessing.— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) September 27, 2017
Sure our country isn't perfect (far from it), the list of misgivings is tremendous, but I hope you can see the positives & honor it as well.— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) September 27, 2017
Please don't believe that when we stand it's out of disrespect to civil rights; it is and always will be out of respect and love for our 🇺🇸— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) September 27, 2017
I plan to stand and sing the national anthem with my family as long as we are able, every chance possible. I hope you will too— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) September 27, 2017
So please don't fall for the false narrative of choice between patriotism and racism. It's simply not the case.— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) September 27, 2017
Most drivers have refrained from approaching the issue on social media, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. put out a tweet that supported the right to protest:
All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) September 25, 2017
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable-JFK
Earnhardt responded to a follower on Twitter who said he commented on the issue because some owners had spoken on it, including Richard Petty and Richard Childress, who indicated that they would fire any of their employees who protested during the national anthem.
Earnhardt also tweeted a video, without comment, of his dog sitting in front of a flagpole that had a U.S. flag on it. He often posts video of his dog, and the video shows the U.S. flag that he flies daily.
Darrell Wallace Jr., who is African-American, said he agreed with Keselowski's comment to not mix standing for the flag as a sign of racism. He said athletes can do what they want and have right to protest. He said he grew up going to class and respect the country they live in.
"People have a right to protest," Wallace said. "Brad Keselowski said it the best -- let's not get it mixed up with patriotism and racism."
Denny Hamlin posted a video of the national anthem being played, and the players standing, prior to a basketball game on a court at his home.
NASCAR does not have a specific policy or rule about what its drivers must do during the national anthem, although it asks its drivers and crews to stand in a line by their cars or at their pit stalls.
Drivers are given five minutes to get into their cars after the anthem is played and before the engines are fired for them to begin the pace laps for the race.
"Sports are a unifying influence in our society, bringing people of differing backgrounds and beliefs together," NASCAR said in a statement Monday. "Our respect for the national anthem has always been a hallmark of our pre-race events.
"Thanks to the sacrifices of many, we live in a country of unparalleled freedoms and countless liberties, including the right to peacefully express one's opinion."