The Confederate flag has become so toxic following the massacre at an African American church in Charleston, South Carolina, that businesses are distancing themselves from the controversial symbol.
NASCAR tracks are asking fans to refrain from displaying the Confederate flag at all races and racing facilities, the tracks said.
In a joint industry statement on Thursday the tracks said:
“As members of the NASCAR industry, we join NASCAR in the desire to make our events among the most fan-friendly, welcoming environments in all of sports and entertainment,” the statement said which was signed by all 30 racetracks with a NASCAR national series race. “To do that, 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.”
NASCAR has been under scrutiny as part of the national conversation surrounding the Confederate flag because while it does not use the flag in any official capacity, it has not banned fans from flying it while camping at the racetracks.
NASCAR chairman Brian France and drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon have spoken out against the flag, calling it offensive to an entire race and saying it belongs in the history books.
Earnhardt, NASCAR’s most popular driver, recently said he thinks the Confederate flag is “offensive” and belongs only in history books.
“We are committed to providing a welcoming atmosphere free of offensive symbols,” the tracks said. “This is an opportunity for NASCAR Nation to demonstrate its sense of mutual respect and acceptance for all who attend our events while collectively sharing the tremendous experience of NASCAR racing.”
Track president Joie Chitwood III said earlier this week that DIS would give an American flag to anyone turning in a Confederate flag as the venue wanted to celebrate America’s birthday and ”we want to make sure (fans) wave our nation’s flag.”
Some fans aren’t pleased with the request.
“This is the United States of America. I have the right to do what I chose,” Wilson, a Dunnellon resident and NASCAR fan told USA TODAY Sports. “And if you find it offensive, I am sorry.”
Waving a Confederate flag while saying, “This is the United States of America” is hypocritical considering where the flag derived from and who embraces it now (see: KKK).
If you want to be a rebel, fly or hold the American flag, not the divisive one. When America sought its independence, it was the most amazing revolution ever.
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