NEW YORK (AP) -- Trace Adkins wore an earpiece decorated like the Confederate flag when he performed at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony, but says he meant no offense by it.
Adkins appeared with the earpiece on a nationally televised special for the lighting on Wednesday. Some regard the flag as a racist symbol and criticized Adkins in Twitter postings.
But in a statement released Thursday, the Louisiana native called himself a proud American who objects to any oppression, and says the flag represents his Southern heritage.
He noted he's a descendant of Confederate soldiers, and says he did not intend offense by wearing it.
Adkins -- on a USO tour in Japan -- also called for the preservation of America's battlefields and an "honest conversation about the country's history."
we need to accept the fact that the confederate flag is a part of our history and the history of the south.
don't forget, some of the northern states had slaves also and they flew the american flag. i was more offended by the fact that he wore a coat with real animal fur on it. but once again, that is his choice
It an earpiece, obviously someone was just looking for their 15 min to complain about this. He's a southern boy. So I guess watching the Dukes of Hazard was being racist.