NASCAR said on Wednesday that it would ban the Confederate battle flag from its events and properties, a decision that comes amid a national reckoning over racism and white supremacy after the death of George Floyd.
“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 made the announcement two days after Darrell Wallace Jr., the first black driver in 50 years to win one of NASCAR’s top three national touring series, called on NASCAR to ban the flags outright.
“No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race,” Wallace told Don Lemon of CNN. “So it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”
According to the New York Times, “NASCAR began asking fans to stop bringing Confederate battle flags to races in 2015, after photos circulated online of the white man who killed nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., posing with the flag. But many in NASCAR’s predominately white Southern fan base have ignored the request and brought the flag anyway, hoisting it atop campers and R.V.s on fields around racetracks.”
Shortly after the ban was announced, NASCAR’s Facebook page was flooded with enraged fans, some writing, “You are dead to me!” and others declaring: “ALL LIVES MATTER.!”
“Your fans were slim to none prior to COVID. Good luck on filling those stands,” said one commenter. “This sport has went [sic] to complete crap. The next thing they will ban is the prayer at the beginning of races because God forbid it ‘offends’ someone.”
One Facebook user wrote: “Are you banning Democrats then too? It’s only fair since they’re the party of slavery.”
Other NASCAR fans directed racist remarks at Wallace, who is also known as Bubba.
“So if Bubba wins will BLM burn police cars and loot stores again to celebrate ?” one man wrote.
“Bubba don’t like it Bubba should go find a new profession!” wrote one commenter. “Don’t come into a sport and try to change it! Not that he’s any good anyways!”
“I bet Bubba hasn’t served one minite[sic] in the military!,” wrote another. “Get out of country if our flags offend you.”
“Starting to box up my nascar stuff now. Shame, I have about 20 Dale Sr. Die cast cars,” wrote another NASCAR fan.
nascar facebook poppin off pic.twitter.com/53hmnAS7Ex
— David Mack (@davidmackau) June 10, 2020