NASCAR announced Wednesday that it would ban displays of the Confederate flag at its races Wednesday, after Bubba Wallace — the lone black driver in the sport — called for its banning.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
NASCAR’s statement came after NASCAR President Steve Phelps pledged Sunday that his organization would take steps to combat racial injustice.
“My next step would be to get rid of all Confederate flags,” Wallace told Don Lemon. “No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. So it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here.” Wallace raced his No. 43 car in a “Black Lives Matter” paint scheme on Wednesday night at Martinsville Speedway.
NASCAR drivers have joined the growing list of athletes and sports leagues throwing their support behind the nationwide protests against police brutality.
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) June 9, 2020
Following the announcement, Ray Ciccarelli, a relatively unknown NASCAR Truck Series driver, announced on social media that “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 ppl right to fly what ever flag they love,” Ciccarelli said in a now-deleted Facebook post. “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 f—ing 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!!”