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Bubba Wallace says NASCAR needs to ‘get rid of’ Confederate flags in stands

Bubba Wallace
“My next step would be to get rid of all Confederate flags,” said NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace after throwing his support behind the nationwide protests against police brutality. “Get them out of here.” (Getty Images)

Bubba Wallace is continuing to speak out.

By C. Jemal Horton

Before Sunday’s race in Atlanta, the Northwest Cabarrus High School graduate wore a T-shirt that read “I Can’t Breathe/Black Lives Matter,” apparently in support of a recent movement to end racial injustice throughout the country following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

Wallace, who drives the familiar No. 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports, is the only full-time African American driver on NASCAR’s top circuit and on Monday spoke of the need to improve the environment at race tracks.

“My next step would be to get rid of all Confederate flags,” Wallace told CNN’s Don Lemon on Monday night. “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.

“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.”

Wallace said he understands that his statement would be unpopular among NASCAR’s fan base, which is predominantly white. As he’s fought through the sport’s various circuits to reach NASCAR’s Cup Series, Wallace has long been accustomed to seeing the Confederate flag fly at tracks. But he said he also understands that other people find the symbol offensive.

“I wasn’t bothered by it, but I don’t speak for everybody else. I speak for myself,” Wallace said. “What I’m chasing is checkered flags. That was kind of my narrative, but diving more into it and educating myself, people feel uncomfortable with that. People talk about that. That’s the first thing they bring up.

“There’s going to be a lot of angry people that carry those flags proudly, but it’s time for change. We have to change that, and I encourage NASCAR — we will have those conversations to remove those flags.”

Wallace acknowledged NASCAR’s recent statement and efforts to bring together drivers in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, saying that the sport was “stepping up to the plate big-time.”

On June 1, NASCAR issued a statement about the ongoing civil rights protests across the country, noting that “For us to heal and move forward as a nation, we all need to listen more and be unite in the stand against racism, hatred, senseless violence and loss of life… and we must hold ourselves accountable to driving positive change.”

By C. Jemal Horton|Independenttribune|Jun 9, 2020