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Brad Keselowski, the 2012 Cup Series champion, commented on the topic of national anthem protests on Tuesday, becoming one of a select few in NASCAR who has chosen to speak out on the dominant sports story of the past week.
Keselowski, who said he supports the civil rights of all his fans and supporters “100 percent,” made his remarks via Twitter and said he was doing so against the wishes of his representatives, who told him to keep out of the discussion.
You can read Keselowski’s entire tweet thread at the link above if you’d like. We’re not going to post all of his tweets here as to not overrun the post or give credence to the headline of the article that sparked Keselowski’s comments. We don’t think there are many rational people who truly hold the position Keselowski was arguing against.
Keselowski has always been one of the more patriotic drivers in the sport when it comes to patriotic symbolism. Keselowski always drives around the track after his wins with an American flag. And he puts his money where his mouth is too with his foundation, which helps veterans.
But there is a salient point Keselowski made in his larger point that we want to emphasize. And it’s applicable for everyone who has tried to opine on the topic of athletes protesting during the national anthem.
If you’ve done any research at all, you’ll know that protests during the national anthem weren’t started out of a lack of patriotism or love for the United States. Instead, they were about standing up against systemic racism and social injustice.
To us, that’s pretty damn patriotic. If you love your country, you should want to improve it. It’s less patriotic to see systemic issues that need changing and simply shrug your shoulders.
But somehow along the way — and President Donald Trump is as guilty as anyone else of this — the discussion surrounding anthem protests got so warped that it became about a love of the country and the flag that represents it, not about the country’s citizens who may not be treated like everyone else.
How did that happen? We can’t say for sure, but our best guess is because those who had an emotional and visceral reaction against what they saw during the national anthem didn’t take time to understand just what the protests were about. They saw what they wanted to see and built their thoughts accordingly.
And that’s disappointing. If people took the time to figure out why we’re having a discussion about protests instead of drawing their own conclusions to fit their biases, we’re sure that there would still be widespread disagreement. But the conversation would be a whole lot healthier.
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