Bubba Wallace spoke with NASCAR before the CNN interview that called for the Confederate flag ban
In 2020, NASCAR Bubba Wallace wore a ‘Black Lives Matter’ shirt at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This took place during the height of protests that were going on across the country, bringing light to racial injustice.
The media and sponsors latched onto Bubba Wallace after he took a stand. Shortly after, Bubba Wallace sat down for a virtual interview with CNN and it brought a major change to NASCAR, resulting in the ban of the Confederate flag.
Wallace previously said that the Confederate flags didn’t bother him. He’d grown up climbing the racing ladder and saw them throughout his career.
However, tweets from fans were vocal about how the flags made them feel uncomfortable. That’s when Wallace decided to take a stand.
Bubba Wallace calls for Confederate flag ban in 2020
“There should be no individual that is uncomfortable showing up to out events to have a good time with their family that feels some type of way about something they have seen,” Bubba Wallace told CNN in 2020.
“An object they have seen flying. No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race.”
He added, “So, it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”
Overnight, Bubba Wallace was now competing with Kyle Busch for NASCAR’s most hated driver award. The Confederate flag was ingrained in the history of the sport itself which spawned from Deep South roots.
In the races that followed, planes flew over the track at multiple events, pulling a Confederate flag. Protests took place, across the street from the track at Talladega Superspeedway with fans carrying the flag in droves.
After the CNN interview, the death threats rolled in. Wallace was encouraged by his father to get a gun in the case he needs protection.
That heightened level of hatred toward Bubba Wallace ultimately created a situation where a garage pull was mistaken for a hate crime. Pfficials discovered rope tied as a noose in Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway. Which the FBI later discovered wasn’t a hate crime at all.
NETFLIX has recently released a documentary series as Bubba Wallace signed on to drive for the newly formed 23XI Racing in the 2021 season. In the series, NASCAR president Steve Phelps noted that he was aware of what Wallace would say before it took place on CNN…
NASCAR says they knew Bubba Wallace would call for the ban before it happened
“Last year, Bubba and I talked a lot,” NASCAR president Steve Phelps said of 2020 during the recently released Bubba Wallace ‘RACE’ documentary on Netflix.
“And, I remember I was driving back from somewhere. I was in my car. Bubba had texted me that Sunday before, he’s going on CNN.”
“He said, “You’re not going to like what I’m gonna talk about.’ “
“I’m like, ‘Ok, what do you have?’ He said, “I don’t think you’ve done enough.’ “
“He said, ‘I think you should ban the flag.’ I said, ‘I totally get it. We’re not going to do it today. There will be a point in time in the very near future that we will ban the flag. But, it needs to be the right time.’ “
NASCAR was given the opportunity to ban the flag
“We rallied our senior people and I asked them, ‘Do you want to take on this opportunity where we’re going to ban this flag?’ “
In the meeting, Phelps asked, “Are you in? Or are you not in? I want that you believe is right in your heart and what you believe is right for our sport.”
Phelps concluded, “Went around the room and they all said, ‘Yes, yes, yes!’ “
An employee of NASCAR added, “We agreed that there was no place for that flag in the sport. There was no place for that flag in society. And so, you’re either on the right side or the wrong side of history and we wanted to make sure we were on the right side.”