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NASCAR Bans Confederate Flag

Chase Elliott (9), Aric Almirola (10) and Joey Logano (22) drive during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday in Hampton, Ga. On Wednesday, NASCAR announced a ban of the Confederate battle flag at all of its events and properties.
Image credit: Brynn Anderson

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NASCAR has banned the Confederate battle flag at all of its events and properties.

In a Wednesday tweet, the stock car racing organization said the presence of the flag “runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and industry.”

“Bringing people together around the love of racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sports special,” the statement said.

NASCAR has for years been under pressure to ban the flag which has long been prevalent at its racetracks and flown on RVs at its infields on race days.

In 2015, then-NASCAR CEO and Chairman Brian France referred to the flag as an “offensive and divisive symbol.”

His remarks were prompted by the killing of nine African Americans who were shot in a South Carolina church.

France subsequently implemented a flag exchange program at all racing events in which fans could trade in a Confederate flag for an American one.

The latest directive comes just days after one of the popular drivers — and only African American racing in its top circuit — Darrell “Bubba” Wallace called for the flag’s ouster.

As we reported Tuesday, Wallace told CNN on Monday, “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.”

Backlash to NASCAR’s ban on the rebel flag has been almost immediate, with some claiming they will no longer attend or support the organization. There is also anger over Wallace’s plan to drive a car emblazoned with a Black Lives Matter hashtag at Wednesday’s Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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