Nascar said Wednesday that it would ban the presence of the confederate flag at all of its racing events and properties, the latest major sports organization to make sweeping new policies in response to nationwide protests over the treatment of Black citizens in America.
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 prepared 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.”
The circuit’s only full-time Black driver, Bubba Wallace, on Monday urged for the flags, often seen as symbols of celebration of an era of slavery in the United States, to be removed from Nascar events. “Get them out of here. They have no place for them,” he said in an interview. In some circles, the flags are seen as a symbol of pride in the heritage of the American South.
Other major sports leagues have adopted new procedures in the wake of the recent protests. The National Football League on Friday acknowledged that the organization had not taken recent protests as seriously as it should. “We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said late last week, after a prominent group of players had called upon the league in a video to address the subject.
On Sunday, at a Nascar race in Atlanta, Steve Phelps, the organization’s president, asked drivers and fans to take a moment of reflection. “The Black community and all people of color have suffered in our country, and it has taken far too long for us to hear their demands for change,” Phelps said in remarks made at the time.”Our sport must do better. Our country must do better.” (Variety)