Multiple NASCAR owners—specifically Richard Childress and Richard Petty—have spoken out against athletes kneeling during the national anthem. Both said they didn’t want drivers on their team protesting the anthem, and they offered strong opinions on the subject.
Monster Energy is in its first year in sponsoring the NASCAR Cup Series, and Monster vice president of sports marketing Mitch Covington recently said the comments from Childress and Petty won’t have an impact on the company’s longevity in NASCAR.
“The comments should have no affect on our decision,” Covington said according to USA Today.
Petty and Childress both said they’d fire any employee who didn’t stand for the anthem. Petty even said those who don’t stand for the anthem should be kicked out of the country.
Richard Petty Motorsports majority owner Andrew Murstein later told ESPN that employees wouldn’t be fired.
Not everyone in NASCAR agrees with Petty and Childress. Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted about people’s right to peaceful protest, and NASCAR itself issued a statement saying people have the right to peacefully express their opinions.
It’s a divisive issue, and there doesn’t seem to be any resolution coming any time soon in any sport. Monster Energy sticking around is obviously important for NASCAR moving forward, so the statement from the company is important for NASCAR.
(h/t USA Today)