Given the recent controversy over some NFL players kneeling or sitting during the national anthem, it's interesting some have tried to paint NASCAR as politically incorrect for their stand on honoring the United States of America before every race.  What they don't understand politics has really nothing to do with it. 

"I don't think there is anything to protest why I personally stand for the American flag," said Ryan Newman.  "I think it's all about liberty and justice for all and that's the freedoms we have and we should all be thankful for.  If you have the ability to stand that was the way I was taught to treat that moment was to stand.  For anyone else who was taught different that's news to me."

That doesn't sound political to me and neither does his teammate Austin Dillon. "For me, I stand for the national anthem for those who give us the right to go out and race every weekend.  For me, personally, when I go out there I think it's an honor to stand during the national anthem with my hand over my heart, stare at the flag, and I enjoy that part of my weekend so I can give back a little to those who have given their lives to allow me to go race."

"I'm one that believes that racism and social injustice is unacceptable and I also believe we all have freedom of speech and I do support peaceful protest," explained Jimmie Johnson. "Through my upbringing and my childhood, I had two grandfathers that served, my grandmother served, my brother-in-law lost his life helping others that serve our country.  So, I choose to stand and I will stand.  That's my experience and my meanings."

The seven-time champions also added, "We can debate the grey areas of the First Amendment and all work up our opinions. I have mine, I've stated mine. I believe in peaceful protest and I choose to stand."

Team owners Richard Petty and Richard Childress took a stand when they said they'd fire anyone from their organizations who protested during the national anthem.  NASCAR's top African-American driver Bubba Wallace drove for Petty earlier this year and has no problem with the stance he took. "I've always stood up for the American flag in elementary school, in kindergarten. We were told to stand up in class and hold our hand over our heart and sing along with it, just respect the world we live in. We take life for granted sometimes and this is a great country we live in."

"People have a right to peacefully protest and I think Brad Keselowski said it best 'let's not get patriotism mixed up with racism'. The world we live in today, the majority of the world sees black and white, but people like me don't.  I've always said about racing cars when you throw on a helmet you don't know which color we are. If I had the same fire suit as Jimmie Johnson, and I was the same height as him, you couldn't tell us apart. So, this something we will hopefully look back on in a couple of weeks, a couple of months, if not next year and be glad we got through it."

Danica Patrick also doesn't have a problem with team owners drawing a line in the sand when it comes to the anthem and believes that doesn't really stop anyone from voicing their opinion about issues that are noteworthy to them. "You have to figure out what's more important to you," she said. "If you think something should be done differently and you might sacrifice your job then that's your choice.  Otherwise, it's your choice the other way too. In general, there's plenty of platforms to speak your mind so if it comes to interfering with  putting food on the table  or being able to do something you love then I think you should probably go by the rule."

She makes a very important distinction. No owner has told his team members they couldn't have opinions on social issues or that they couldn't promote those views via Twitter, Instagram, or any other means over the internet. The message is simply let's just please leave the anthem alone.

It's always been a point of pride for me how NASCAR honors the men and women who serve in the military and the first responders that risk their lives on our behalf.  I get a lump in my throat every time Charlotte Motor Speedway brings in thousands of the military and their families on Memorial Day weekend.  It's a tremendous patriotic gesture by Marcus Smith and Speedway Motorsports and, perhaps, best symbolizes how NASCAR views those in uniform.

"For us so much has been sacrificed for our country and that flag," declared team owner Joe Gibbs. "I think for us it's just a big deal for us to honor America. That's the way we look at it and I'm proud of the way we've represented ourselves and I'm proud of this sport too. I think this sport has a certain way of looking at things and I appreciate that. "

I do too. There's plenty of time to debate what's wrong with the United States and everybody is entitled to their opinion. How about we do that, though, after we've stood at attention, placed a hand over our heart, and properly honor the greatest country in the history of civilization? That's the least we can do for those fighting today for freedom in our name and for those who gave their lives wearing an American flag on their uniform.

I repeat politics, whether you lean left or right, has nothing to do with it.