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Trace Adkins stirred some controversy this week by wearing an earpiece with the Confederate battle flag during his Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony performance.
According to The Huffington Post, the design on the earpiece was clearly visible and sparked discussions on Twitter.
The country star is a Republican and had performed at the RNC in Tampa, singing “Touch People Do.” He also referred to the Civil War as the “War Against Northern Aggression” in his book, A Singer’s Stand. Adkins is also a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
In a statement posted on his website, Adkins wrote that he did not mean to offend anyone or appear racist.
“As a proud American I object to oppression of any kind,” he wrote. “To me, the battle flag represents remembrance of my Southern lineage – I am a descendant of Confederate soldiers who followed that flag into battle. I advocate for the preservation of America’s battlefields and honest conversation about our Country’s history.”
His statement concluded, “To those who view the flag as a symbol of racism, that was not my message and I did not intend offense.”
Adkins is currently on a USO tour in Japan, notes The AP.
You can watch Adkins perform “We Three Kings” at the ceremony, which was broadcast live on NBC below: