Dale Earnhardt Jr. sends powerful message amid NASCAR's involvement in protest debate

NASCAR's most popular driver sent a loud message Monday morning in response to the sport's sudden involvement in a national debate around protests during the playing or singing of the national anthem at sporting events.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., the most popular NASCAR driver in a sport that, according to President Donald Trump, "won't put up with disrespecting our Country and our Flag," sent a loud message Monday morning, part of which came in the form of a John F. Kennedy quote.

Earnhardt, who has won NASCAR's Most Popular Driver award a record 14 consecutive years, tweeted what appeared to be his response to racing's sudden involvement in a national debate around protests during the playing or singing of the national anthem at sporting events.

Tweeted Junior: "All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests ... Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable-JFK."

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Two NASCAR team owners — Richard Childress and Richard Petty — were quoted Sunday in the Associated Press condemning those who protest during the national anthem.

"It'll get you a ride on a Greyhound bus," said Childress, the man for whom Junior's late father, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt, drove for 18 years. "Anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people gave their lives for it. This is America."

Added Petty, also a seven-time Cup Series champion: "Anybody that don't stand up for the anthem oughta be out of the country. Period. What got ’em where they’re at? The United States."

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Petty clarified that any protester at Richard Petty Motorsports would indeed be "fired."

Trump tweeted Monday morning that he is "so proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans." He followed that up minutes later with a pair of tweets aimed at the dozens of NFL players who took a knee during the anthem before Sunday's games, expressing approval of the fans who booed players for protesting.

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