NASCAR champs weigh in on pro sports protests

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - One day after the checkered flag rested in the ISM Connect 300 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, tweets over protests by athletes continued to come with speed.

On Monday, Dale Earnhardt Jr tweeted, in part, "All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests."

He cited JFK in the tweet, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

Hours later, NASCAR released a statement that said in part, "Sports are a unifying influence in our society, bringing people of differing backgrounds and beliefs together. Our respect for the national anthem has always been a hallmark of our pre-race events."

Jeff Gordon, who was in town for a charity event, made it clear where he stands on the issue as well.

"I can only speak to what I plan to do. Every time I see that flag waving and every time I hear the National Anthem, I'm putting my hand over my heart," Gordon told reporters.

Context came from race fans at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte.

"You can protest, but there are places for that - not where you're paid to do a job," said Jerry Robertson, who's visiting from Phoenix.

NASCAR's statement concluded by saying, "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."

Fans like Lorri Stewart agree.

"You are raised above higher standards," Stewart said. "You do have millions of people following you."

In his brief comments, Jeff Gordon didn't speak to the issue of protests or its proper forum.

"I'm going to respect this country and that flag and what it stands for," he said.

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