Lewis Hamilton backs NFL protests, slams Donald Trump

By @saihoops on
Lewis Hamilton, 2017 Formula One season
Formula One F1 - Malaysia Grand Prix 2017 - Drivers' News Conference - Sepang, Malaysia - September 28, 2017 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton speaks to journalists. Reuters / Edgar Su

Lewis Hamilton, former three-time Formula One world champion, has rallied behind the National Football League (NFL) and its players for taking a collective stance against US President Donald Trump. Hamilton believes athletes are entitled to use their platform to raise awareness and make a political statement. 

Last Sunday, a good portion of NFL players shocked the world by wearing T-shirts that read "#IMWITHKAP" before kneeling down and joining arms during the national anthem. While the T-shirts were to show solidarity with free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who initiated the process of kneeling during the national anthem, NFL players (and a few owners) held arms as a response to Trump's comments.

A few days before, Trump encouraged NFL owners to "fire" players protesting The Star-Spangled Banner, besides asking disgruntled fans to walk out the stadiums. On Wednesday, Trump said that the "NFL business is going to hell" due to players "disrespecting our national anthem, our flag, our country."

Lewis Hamilton says he can identify with protesters

While suggesting that he "identifies" with the recent protests, Hamilton said players should never hold back while expressing their political beliefs. "I think there are opportunities all over (to take a political stance). I think it's open for anyone to have the freedom of speech and I guess we can all play a role in trying to make a difference in the world.

“Particularly if your leader is not helping in that area, it needs the people to really try and stand up together. I really feel like I identify with a lot of those individuals, hence some of the posts I put up," Hamilton said ahead of the weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit.

Earlier in the week, Hamilton took to Instagram to share a picture (see below) of Kaepernick next to a list of victims of police shootings tagged with the text "No conviction." When asked if he was worried about backlash from Mercedes F1 and the Formula One community, Hamilton said, "Not at all. I don't feel like I need to (be worried) either. I have always had support from all my team and I've never had any complaints from them. And I don't anticipate there will be moving forward."

Lewis Hamilton, with 263 points, currently leads Ferrari star Sebastian Vettel (235 points) by a margin of 28 points in the 2017 Formula One World Drivers' Championship. With just six races left, Hamilton is favoured to capture his fourth world title to further his legacy as one of the greatest drivers in F1 history. The 2017 Formula One season resumes this weekend at Sepang International Circuit for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

 

If you don't know, try to educate yourself so you can understand. #takeaknee

A post shared by Lewis Hamilton (@lewishamilton) on Sep 25, 2017 at 3:09am PDT

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