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NASCAR Bans Confederate Flag

As of Wednesday June 10, 2020, NASCAR officially banned the Confederate flag at its races and all its venues. For more than 70 years, the Confederate flag was a common sight at NASCAR races, and policing the policy might well prove challenging. NASCAR did not provide details as to how enforcement will work and how far-reaching the ban will be. The issue was highlighted by Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s lone black driver and an Alabama native, who called for banishing the Confederate flag and said there was “no place” for it in the sport. The ban was announced before Wednesday night’s race at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, where Wallace wore an American flag mask and black “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt, and Wallace’s vehicle bore a #BlackLivesMatter paint scheme. Wallace clapped his hands when asked about the decision before the start of the race.

According to a statement by NASCAR, “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. 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.”

Though the decision was met with loud protest by some Confederate flag loyalists, others expressed support, including many of Wallace’s peers and others in the NASCAR community. The predominantly white field of drivers united over the weekend for a video promoting social change. Before a race on Sunday in Atlanta, a Black NASCAR official, Kirk Price, took a knee, and NASCAR President Steve Phelps addressed the drivers vowing “to do a better job of addressing racial injustice in the wake of Floyd’s death.”