NASCAR driver Kyle Weatherman drove a pro-police-themed car at a race in Miami on Saturday, and it’s gaining widespread attention on social media.
Weatherman’s racing team, Mike Harmon Racing (MHR), revealed the car’s design on Twitter Saturday, writing that the team “supports our LEO’s (law enforcement officers) and First Responders, we THANK YOU for your service, sacrifice and dedication.” The car’s paint featured a large “Blue Lives Matter” flag and a “thin blue line” running across the side. A “Back The Blue” hashtag was also painted on the car in three places, according to CBS Sports.
Mike Harmon Racing proudly releases the 47 Chevy Camaro paint scheme #ThinBlueLine piloted by @KyleWeatherman @HomesteadMiami Mike Harmon Racing supports our LEO’s and First Responders, we THANK YOU for your service, sacrifice and dedication‼️🖤💙🖤 pic.twitter.com/RTddq7NY20— MHR Racing (@MhrRacing) June 13, 2020
The phrase “Blue Lives Matter” was coined in response to the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the 2012 death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.Black Lives Matter protests have seen a resurgence in recent weeks following the death of George Floyd in police custody. Protesters are fighting against police brutality and racial injustice, and many are now focused on slashing funding for police departments.Campaigns like “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” are seen as controversial rebuttals to the Black Lives Matter movement. So, while some people supported the use of “Blue Lives Matter” imagery on the racing car, others on social media criticized the symbols.Weatherman’s design was revealed several days after Bubba Wallace’s team, Richard Petty Motors, drove a Black Lives Matter car during a race last Wednesday at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, according to CBS Sports.Earlier this month, Wallace, the only full-time African-American driver, challenged NASCAR to “get rid of all Confederate flags.” Wallace later praised the sport for following through last week and banning the flag from all future races.
Weatherman’s “Blue Lives Matter” car is not the first paint job from MHR that has had a political message. In February, the No. 47 car had a Trump 2020 paint scheme that raced at Daytona. It was funded by Patriots PAC of America, CBS Sports reports.