NASCAR bans Confederate flag at all races, events

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FILE – In this Sept. 5, 2015, file photo, a Confederate flag flies in the infield before a NASCAR Xfinity auto race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C. Bubba Wallace, the only African-American driver in the top tier of NASCAR, calls for a ban on the Confederate flag in the sport that is deeply rooted in the South. (AP Photo/Terry Renna, File)

(NEXSTAR/AP) — NASCAR issued a statement on Wednesday announcing the Confederate flag will be banned from “all NASCAR events and properties.”

“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.”

Bubba Wallace — the lone black driver in the sport — recently said NASCAR should ban the flag at its properties and formally distance itself from what for millions is a symbol of slavery and racism.

As the nation grapples with social unrest following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis, the predominantly white field of drivers united for a video promoting social change. A black NASCAR official took a knee before Sunday’s race near Atlanta in what may have been a first for the series, and the governing body vowed to do a better job of addressing racial injustice.

Wallace, who wore a black T-shirt with the words “I Can’t Breathe” at Sunday’s race, seized the moment and issued his most compelling comments yet on the topic of race and racing: “My next step would be to get rid of all Confederate flags.”

“There should be no individual that is uncomfortable showing up to our events to have a good time with their family that feels some type of way about something they have seen, an object they have seen flying,” Wallace told CNN. “No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. So it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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