NASCAR announced Wednesday it is banning the Confederate flag from all of its events and properties.
“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,” the organization wrote in a statement on social media late Wednesday afternoon. “Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community 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.”
Earlier this week, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace told CNN he wanted to remove all Confederate flags from NASCAR events. Wallace is the only full-time black driver on the circuit, and before Sunday’s Folds Of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Wallace wore a shirt that read, “I Can’t Breathe” and “Black Lives Matter.”
In 2018, he became the first full-time black driver at the sport’s highest level, the NASCAR Cup Series, since 1971, according to NBC News.
“No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race,” Wallace told CNN. “So it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”
Wallace, 26, said he understands why some might be angry over his position, but he also said he intended to have conversations with NASCAR about the flag’s presence at events.
“We should not be able to have an argument over that,” Wallace told CNN. “It is a thick line we cannot cross anymore.”
Related Post: NASCAR Truck Series driver says he’s leaving sport after new Confederate flag policy
In Wednesday night’s Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway, Wallace’s Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 car will have a “Black Lives Matter” paint scheme.
The removal of the Confederate flag from NASCAR events comes against the backdrop of nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died when a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest.
That officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired and later arrested and charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. The three other officers at the scene were fired and later charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
Last week, the Marine Corps banned the display of the Confederate flag at public installations.
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