Celebrities Weigh-In On #TakeTheKnee #StandForAnthem NFL Controversy

Celebrities are taking their own stances on the #TakeTheKnee or #StandForOurAnthem NFL controversy.

Related: NFL spokesman: 'This is what real locker room talk is'

Related: Alejandro Villanueva's Steelers merchandise becomes No. 1 seller in 24-hour span

NBA
MICHAEL JORDAN
Charlotte Hornets Owner, Michael Jordan issued a statement to the Charlotte Observer,

“One of the fundamental rights this country is founded on was freedom of speech, and we have a long tradition of nonviolent, peaceful protest. Those who exercise the right to peacefully express themselves should not be demonized or ostracized," Jordan said. “At a time of increasing divisiveness and hate in this country, we should be looking for ways to work together and support each other and not create more division.

“I support Commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA, its players and all those who wish to exercise their right to free speech.”

Related: Trump: NFL should 'fire or suspend' players who kneel during anthem

LEBRON JAMES
Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James said, “the people run this country. Not one individual. And damn sure not him.”
 

James said he had no regrets about calling the president a bum after Trump un-invited the Golden State Warriors from a White House visit.

James said Trump’s comments about the NFL and Warriors over the weekend jumpstarted a conversation that needs to be had.

James re-iterated what players are protesting.

“It’s not about disrespect for flag and military and people who served,” he said. “It’s about equality and having the option and freedom to speak about things they feel are unjust.”

NASCAR
RICHARD CHILDRESS
NASCAR team owner, Richard Childress was asked what he would do if one of his employees protested during the anthem.

“Get you a ride on a Greyhound bus when the national anthem is over,” said Childress.

“I told them anyone who works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people have gave their lives for it. This is America,” said Childress.

Related: NASCAR owners side with Trump, take firm stance against anthem protests

RICHARD PETTY
Team owner Richard Petty, who won a record-tying seven championships as a driver, said he would fire any employee that didn't stand for the anthem.

“Anybody that don’t stand up for that ought to be out of the country. Period,” Petty said. “If they don’t appreciate where they’re at … what got them where they’re at? The United States.”

Walt Czarnecki, executive vice president of Penske Corp., said Team Penske has no policy regarding the issue and said, “it’s an issue we’ve never faced and don’t anticipate facing.” He said to his knowledge the team has never spoken with a sponsor about it, either.

Team owner Chip Ganassi said he liked “Mike Tomlin’s answer,” referring to the Pittsburgh Steelers coach who stood on the field as the vast majority of his players remained in the locker room.

DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. appeared to oppose Childress' viewpoint, tweeting a quote from President John F. Kennedy Monday morning saying "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

NASCAR 

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

MUSIC INDUSTRY

PHARRELL WILLIAMS

Some artists at Sunday's "A Concert for Charlottesville" took a knee in solidarity with NFL players who protested during the national anthem in defiance of President Trump, who said that players who kneel during the "The Star-Spangled Banner" should be fired.

Pharrell Williams got down on both knees during the concert, a show that aimed to promote "healing, unity and justice" following a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in August. 

"Can't nobody tell me what to do," said Williams. "If I wanna get on my knees right now for the people in my city, for the people in my state, that's what that flag is for." 

STEVIE WONDER 

Stevie Wonder also took two knees. He said, "I've seen people killing people in churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples. I've seen hate marching down the street disguised as a cry for equality ... And now, I take a knee for America -- yes I do -- and two knees in prayer for our world. Amen." 

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Justin Timberlake also knelt on stage, following the lead of NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who remains unsigned, started the kneeling movement in 2016 to protest racial injustice in America.

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