For decades, proud racists have held NASCAR tightly to their collective bosom despite the company’s staunchly-touted family-friendly mission of inclusion. A lot of that has to do with its previously lax stance on the presence of the Confederate flag, which certain tracks continued to display even after banning fans from bringing them in 2015. Now, the racing institution is denouncing them altogether and promising to further ban displays of the flag from all of its events and properties. Yup, in 2020.
“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 Wednesday in a statement posted on its official website. “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 decision comes amid weeks of protests against police brutality two days after Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s only Black full-time driver in its Cup Series, called for the company to take the final step and remove the flag from all of its events. “No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race,” Wallace told CNN’s Don Lemon. “It starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”
NASCAR announced the ban hours before its scheduled, fan-less race in Martinville, VA, where, according to CNN, the flag maintains a presence in the parking lot and campgrounds. The company will have to wait until Sunday to see how devoted fans react to the change in-person, when the company begins admitting a limited number of spectators in Homestead, FL.
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