NASCAR has banned the Confederate flag from all events and properties.
In a lengthy statement detailing the move, NASCAR said it was banning the Confederate flag from its races and properties, distancing itself from what some are calling a symbol of slavery and racism.
The flag “had been a familiar sight at stock car events for more than 70 years,” the Associated Press reported, adding that the change has resulted in major blowback.
The move came after the death in police custody of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis.
Protests and riots have taken place across the nation for weeks and Confederate monuments are being taken down across the South — the traditional fan base for NASCAR.
Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s lone black driver, called this week for the banishment of the Confederate flag and said there was “no place” for them in the sport.
NASCAR obviously agreed and obliged.
“The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry,” NASCAR said. “Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.”
Opinion: NASCAR’s Confederate flag ban is long overdue. But I’ll believe it when I see it. https://t.co/hAx152Jd33
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 12, 2020
Just this week, President Donald Trump called to preserve Confederate heritage, saying he won’t consider renaming military bases named for Confederate generals.
“These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom. The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars,” Trump tweeted. “Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.”
NASCAR could be in big trouble.
“I don’t believe in kneeling during Anthem nor taken ppl right to fly whatever flag they love,” said NASCAR Truck Series driver Ray Ciccarelli, announcing his intention to quit the sport.
Ciccarelli added: “I could care less about the Confederate Flag but there are ppl that do and it doesn’t make them a racist, all you are doing is fuc**** one group to cater to another and i ain’t spend the money we are to participate in any political BS!! So everything is for SALE!!”
NASCAR helmet artist Jason Beam tweeted “ignorance wins again, NASCAR you realize the North had slaves too, lol not just the South, you want to remove the American Flag as well, idiots.”
A publicist for one NASCAR driver tweeted the decision was “a joke.”
It could be just a matter of time before other drivers decide to end their relationship with NASCAR as well, given the new policy.
Many fans will also assuredly drop off because of this move.
It is understandable that some people don’t like the Confederate flag, however, a vast majority of people who choose to fly it are expressing their Southern roots — not support for racism or slavery.