NASCAR is reportedly making a major change in the wake of George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis, as well as ongoing protests. Racing's governing body plans on omitting the national anthem conduct instructions from the pre-race handout. The wording about how to stand during the national anthem previously appeared on the Bristol pre-race handout but was absent prior to Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.
"Drivers & Crew Chiefs, please advise your Team members: Conduct during the playing of the National Anthem, taken from the U.S. Flag Code. When the flag is displayed — all persons should face and stand at attention with their right hand over their heart — persons should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart — when the flag is not present — all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed," the conduct instructions said.
When racing fans saw this update from FOX Sports' Bob Pockrass, they reacted strongly. Several proclaimed that NASCAR "has gone too far" while others said that this is long overdue. There were several arguments about the 1st Amendment and whether or not free speech is truly allowed at sports events.
Why? That is what should be happening! Kneeling for the national anthem is unacceptable and should result in immediate suspension! Any team member. Idc if it’s a driver! Kneeling for the national anthem and flag doesn’t show anything but disrespect towards current/fallen military— RaceFan6 #KeepTheInvocation (@RaceFan348) June 10, 2020
What's disturbing is Nascar had to even explain this to Adults on a handout. But its a Shame that Nascar has now hitched its wagon to the Anti Law Enforcement movement.— Jeff C (@Chilly2u) June 10, 2020
Did you read it? They are NOT including it. Meaning you could kneel now if you want to, which is how it should be— Andrew Fro (@realandrewfro) June 10, 2020
Why not? Look I get the BLM movement and respect it but why does it have to be done during the anthem? Why not right before or right after for 60 seconds or however long it takes to sing the anthem. The TV networks will still show it.— SLMDirtFan (@Murphy10Irish) June 10, 2020
What they need to do if that kneeling crap happens pic.twitter.com/SD6i5UwMKT— Kathy Gordon (@GirlLovesRacin) June 10, 2020
Everybody should take a knee— MileHiGhKushClub (@MileKush) June 10, 2020
Nascar deserves a round of applause for everything they’ve done the last week or so. Filters out the racists too. Making this sport better one step at a time.— Brett (@BrettIsNotATree) June 10, 2020
Alot of people quit watching football because of the kneeling, do you think this will happen to Nascar also?— Kathy jones (@nascarkathy) June 10, 2020
I am so disappointed in @NASCAR! I’m proud of them for taking a stand against racism, but they are going to far about the flag! Next thing we know they’ll turn their back on our military. Shame on y’all @NASCAR!!!— regina powell (@reginak10982) June 10, 2020
So you can do anything ypu want during the anthem @nascar???— Debbie Green (@DebRocket) June 10, 2020
It appears @Nascar is going to respect the participants 1st amendment rights.— Larry Lee (@lblee58) June 10, 2020
We should all be taking a knee until we eradicate systemic racism in this land.— Patrick⚾️🎾⚽️ (@PDean2017) June 10, 2020
If they allow kneeling, they should allow fans to bring whatever flag they want. If they want equality in terms of free expression, you must allow both sides to participate. They have the right to allow both or ban both but consider the outcome in terms of consistency.— Andrew Cave (@andrewcave61) June 10, 2020
Sorry to hear this. NASCAR was helping us survive 2020 and now has lost the way.— MatthewMom24 (@MatthewMom24) June 10, 2020
Proud veteran here, i could care less if someone stands or kneels during the anthem. Doesn’t hurt my feelings in any way. I didn’t serve so that you HAD to stand during the anthem, i served so you have the CHOICE to stand or do whatever your heart desires during the anthem— Justin Rivord (@JustinRivord) June 10, 2020
STAND FOR THE ANTHEM!! @NASCAR— Ryan Nichols (@RyanN_41) June 10, 2020