NASCAR, in a statement issued Wednesday, will prohibit the display of Confederate flags from all events and properties going forward.
“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,” the statement read.
The move comes in the context of two weeks of ongoing nationwide protests following the murder of an African-American man, George Floyd, by a white police officer in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.
The display of Confederate flags by fans at tracks has been a hot-button issue in recent years as NASCAR has tried to build its brand outside its traditional southern base.
The series lone current African-American driver, Bubba Wallace, said earlier this week that he would push for a ban on Confederate flags at NASCAR events.
“No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. So, it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them,” said Wallace, one of eight African-American drivers to start a race in what is now known as the Cup Series.
“There’s going to be a lot of angry people that carry those flags proudly, but it’s time for change,” Wallace said.
Brad Daugherty, the lone African-American Cup Series team owner, told the Associated Press this week that he stood with Wallace on the issue.
“After all this country has gone through in the last three months, I think Bubba Wallace’s thought of removing Confederate flags from NASCAR events is an idea whose time has come,” said Daugherty, a co-owner of JTG Daugherty Racing, and former NBA and UNC basketball star.
Ahead of the announcement by NASCAR, the push to ban Confederate flags from series events was gaining widespread support.
“You hear somebody like Bubba talk about it and how he feels about it, and it wakes you up a bit. Yeah, I think NASCAR is going to do the right thing there,” 2017 Cup champion Martin Truex Jr. said earlier this week.
His comments were echoed by two-time Daytona 500 champion Denny Hamlin.
“NASCAR’s going to continue to make changes, and I’m sure they’ll look at what flags they want to fly in the infield,” Hamlin said. “If you look at all the haulers each and every weekend, they’ve got the American flags flown all over the top of them. That’s what we salute when we do the national anthem.”
Story by Chris Graham