NEW YORK (AP) -- Trace Adkins wore an earpiece decorated like the Confederate flag when he performed for the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting 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."