NASCAR, the unofficial “Southern sport,” is taking a bold stand in the country’s Confederate flag issue as the victims from the Charleston church shooting are still fresh in their graves.
Several of NASCAR’s national series tracks sent a statement to the Associated Press today, July 2, asking that fans try to refrain from displaying the Confederate flag at races in light of the hate crime.
“We are asking our fans and partners to join us in a renewed effort to create an all-inclusive, even more welcoming atmosphere for all who attend our events,” the statement read. “This will include the request to refrain from displaying the Confederate flag at our facilities and NASCAR events.”
Alleged shooter Dylann Roof was arrested on June 18 and a website belonging to him pointed to racist manifesto and Confederate flag imagery to fuel his evil mind state.
While popular drivers such Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon have also feigned support for the flag, the Daytona International Speedway is trying to rectify the situation by offering NASCAR fans an exchange program for the hateful symbol.
“We want to be inclusive to everyone, and the last thing you want is for anyone to come to a sporting event and really not enjoy that experience because of symbols that really represent things we’re not proud of,” track President Joie Chitwood said in a statement. “Going forward, we’ll really have to look at where that other flag goes, because it doesn’t have a place in our sport and we’ve got to take a thoughtful process on how we get to that place.”
NASCAR Chairman Brian France also acknowledged that while the sport may have a visible past with the Confederate flag, that doesn’t mean the nostalgic aspects make it acceptable.
“Obviously, we have our roots in the South, there are events in the South, it’s part of our history like it is for the country,” he told The Associated Press. “But it needs to be just that, part of our history. It isn’t part of our future.”
Very well said. Take a look at the pictures in the gallery below to see just how far the NASCAR Confederate flag relationship stretches back.
Photo: FOX News Video Screenshot