The NASCAR driver recently became aware of the number of people offended by the Confederate flag
Across the country, there’s an active pursuit to remove Confederate monuments and reduce the use of the Rebel flag as the same time. The movement has been further sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed by a now former police officer.
NASCAR stepped in a few weeks ago to announce change within their community. After years of attempting a soft-ban of the Confederate flag, the sport outright banned the flag from all events and properties.
It was a proactive step by the sport with the idea of allowing everyone to feel comfortable at the race track. Weeks later, they are still catching backlash.
The day of the ban, Bubba Wallace drove a ‘Black Lives Matter’ car at Martinsville Speedway. The combination of the two have divided two portions of the fan base.
In a poll on our social media accounts, 51% were in favor of the ban on the Confederate flag while 49% were in disagreement.
There’s now a large number of angry race-fans who feel their Southern Pride and heritage and being dismissed. It’s added to an increasing number of former race fans. I know that because I’m told via journal-entry style comments and emails, daily.
Talladega Superspeedway: Confederate flag plane
Over the weekend, NASCAR visited Talladega Superspeedway, a track where the Confederate flag is common on everything from RV ladders to bikinis.
In protest of the ban, a place flew over the speedway while pulling a Confederate flag banner with the phrase, “defund NASCAR.”
NASCAR EVP tweeted about the plane. At the time, it was unknown who brought the place but he called them, “jackasses” for flying it.
It’s since been widely reported that the Sons of the Confederate have taken responsibility for the plane. The group has done similar acts in the past, such as the Confederate flag they flew over UNCC in the Charlotte area.
Noose: Not a hate crime
On Saturday, a noose was tied to a tree at Sonoma Raceway in California.
Later in the weekend, Richard Petty Motorsports discovered a noose in their garage. The next morning, NASCAR notified the FBI.
The FBI has since concluded their investigation and determined that the noose had been there since at least October 2019. Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime.
NASCAR errored on the side of caution. They were quick to protect one of their drivers has hate circled the sport from all angles.
Most of the reactions above, are due to a flag. Which brings us to the next topic…
Mississippi state flag
The current version of the State of Mississippi flag has been is use since 1894. In the upper left hand corner, the flag features the Confederate flag, in full.
They’ve been trying to change it, for years. Dozens of bills have surfaced only to be declared dead.
Recently, the NCAA, SEC and Conference USA have all called on the state to remove the Rebel flag from the Mississippi state flag. Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill stated he refused to play Football for the state until the flag is changed.
“Either change the flag or I won’t be representing this State anymore & I meant that .. I’m tired,” Hill stated via twitter.
In 2001, a possible change to the Mississippi flag was placed on the ballot. But, 65 percent of the state voted to keep the current flag.
New attempt to change Flag of Mississippi
There’s currently a group of lawmakers actively attempting to place a vote for change of the Mississippi flag on the ballot. They have only a few days to do so.
“[The flag is to] remind Black folk, you haven’t made it yet. The Confederates still control your livelihood and your quality of life,” said Edward Blackmon of the Mississippi House of Representatives District 57 this week.
In order for the vote to reach a ballot, it must first reach two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate.
“While some may see the current flag as a celebration of heritage, a significant portion of the state sees it as a relic of racism and a symbol of hatred,” said Shawn Parker, executive director and treasurer of the Mississippi Baptist Convention.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr on the Mississippi state flag
Ricky Stenhouse Jr is a native of Mississippi and a driver in the NASCAR Cup Series.
As you can see above, Stenhouse Jr previously featured the Mississippi state flag on his racing suit, as recently at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It’s printed right next to his name, near the waist.
Jim Utter and Bob Pockrass both asked questions regarding the Mississippi state flag. The NASCAR driver was born in the state and until recently he wore the state flag on a belt buckle in addition to his race suit.
“We have talked a lot about the Mississippi flag,” Ricky Stenhouse Jr stated.
“I wore it on my belt for a long time. We took it off of my race suits in the past couple weeks.”
“You never want to do anything to offend anybody, on purpose. Not being on purpose, but it’s out state flag. I’ve always been proud to be from Mississippi.”
“I wore the flag on my belt, for a long time. I’ve never thought of it offending anybody.”
“Obviously, with everything that’s going on in the country and the Rebal flag, really, learning how it offends so many people. I don’t intend to do that.”
“That was just a way for use to make sure, myself, JTG and our partners — We wanted to take initiative to take that off before somebody wanted us to have to.”
“We just wanted to be proactive and make sure we got that off and didn’t offend anybody going forward.”
Stenhouse Jr finished 2nd at Talladega Superspeedway on Monday.