DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR banned the Confederate flag from its races and venues on Wednesday, formally severing itself from what for many is a symbol of slavery and racism.
The move comes amid social unrest around the globe following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis while being detained by several white police officers. Protests have roiled the nation for days and Confederate monuments are being taken down across the South — the tradtiional fan base for NASCAR.
Confederate flags have been a familiar sight at NASCAR races over its 72-year history, dotting the infield atop RVs or being waved by fans in the grandstands, though the stock car series with its roots in moonshine running has in recent years taken cautious steps to sever the connection.
The issue was pushed to the fore this week as Bubba Wallace, NASCAR's lone black driver, called for the banishment of the Confederate flag and said there was “no place” for them in the sport. At long last, NASCAR obliged.
“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. "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 said it would have no additional comment.