NASCAR Bans Confederate Flag At All Races

That is a strong step in the right direction.

Jim Rome
June 11, 2020 - 1:46 pm
NASCAR Confederate Flags

USA Today

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Black Lives Matter” before the race in Atlanta. On Monday night, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace talked about the change he wanted to see in the sport, namely removing the confederate flag from all race tracks.  

That is strong, that is powerful, and that is absolutely correct. And he knew that it might not be a popular stance with some people. "There's going to be a lot of angry people that carry those flags proudly, but it's time for change. We have to change that, and I encourage NASCAR -- we will have those conversations to remove those flags."

And yesterday, NASCAR made this statement: "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. 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."

Boom. Bubba did it. That is outstanding. And that is very good news. NASCAR attempted to disallow it at races five years ago, after white supremacist Dylann Roof, murdered nine black men and women in a church.

Wallace, wearing an American flag on his face mask and an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt was pumped before the race: "Bravo. Props to NASCAR and everybody involved.” And then went on to say: "I'm excited about tonight. There's a lot of emotions on the race track and off the race track that are riding with us. Tonight's something special, today's been something special. Again, hats off to NASCAR. [NASCAR president Steve] Phelps and I have been in contact a lot, just trying to figure out what steps are next. That was a huge, pivotal moment for the sport.”

It was a pivotal moment for the sport. But not everybody was happy. Ray Ciccarelli, a part-time competitor in the NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series, posted the following to Facebook:

Well it’s been a fun ride and dream come true, but if this is the direction NASCAR is headed we will not participate after 2020 season is over. I don't believe in kneeling during Anthem nor taken people right to fly whatever flag they love. I could care less about the Confederate Flag but there are people that do and it doesn't make them a racist. All you are doing is bleeping 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!!

Thanks for your thoughts, Raymond. But I’m going to go ahead and say that zero wins, zero poles, and just one top ten finish in the last three years means I’m not sure too many people will notice that you’re gone.  OR THAT YOU WERE EVER EVEN THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

And as for the idea that flying the Confederate Flag doesn’t make you a racist, I hate to break it to you, it pretty much does. It was a flag flown by traitors, people who were fighting against America for the right to own slaves. It’s that simple.

Don’t take it from me, take it from Ryan McGee, who wrote an incredible piece for ESPN. You really should read it, but here’s an excerpt:

I am a direct descendant of slave owners. My family still owns the home where my forefathers lived while the human beings they owned worked all around them. He goes on: My great-great-great grandfather and uncle were taken prisoner after fighting under that flag and were shipped off to a prison camp in Elmira, New York -- a.k.a., "Hell-mira" -- and when the Civil War ended, they walked home, 600 miles, to Rockingham, North Carolina.

And here’s a little more: “So, yeah, spare me the arguments about what that flag really means. I know exactly what it means. It means pain. It means anguish. It means embarrassment. It means the most shameful blight on the pages of the history of the United States, and that's no small achievement.

Even if there had ever been a stitch of honor left in that flag after the Civil War was over, that was wrung out when hate groups chose the stars and bars as their go-to banner, under which they set fire to crosses, lynched black Americans, and held aloft as they stood at the doors of desegregated schools and screamed at innocent children, schoolbooks in hand, who did nothing more than be born.”

That is what the flag represents. And that’s what you’re siding with when you fly it. Honestly, McGee’s piece is so good, I considered reading the entire thing on the air.

Bubba Wallace is not alone. Ryan Blaney, who finished second last night, supports: "I'm really proud of what he's doing, the effort he's putting in and wanting to kind of lead the charge. I stand behind him. A lot of guys stand behind him. Not only the drivers, but a lot of teams, as well. Crew members. The car he ran tonight was great. I loved that he was able to do that and come up with that idea."

Dale Earnhardt was opposed to the confederate flag. Dale Jr has spoken out against it for years. In his autobiography, he wrote that it "represents closed-minded, racist views that have no place in today's society."

And now NASCAR has banned it from their tracks. That is a strong step in the right direction. And absolutely the right call.