Thursday, July 02, 2015
NASCAR, track owners and drivers ask fans not to display Confederate flag
"We're all trying to be, as we should, the most inclusive sport that we can, and you can't say that on one hand and then fly a very offensive flag to an entire race of people on the other.
"It just doesn't comport. That's where we are, and there's no daylight between that. And I was clear on that over (last) weekend, and our tracks are working on the right kind of solution to work with our fans.
"We've taken the position that we need to disassociate ourselves with that symbol, that flag in every way that we can because it just represents a very offensive message, and I think Dale Jr. said it best. That flag belongs in a museum and part of our history but not flying at a NASCAR race and part of our future. He said it about as well as you could say it," NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said.
"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.
"This will include the request to refrain from displaying the Confederate flag at our facilities and NASCAR events," International Speedway Corp. Speedway Motorsports Inc., and several other track owners said in a statement.
"We want to be inclusive to everyone, and the last thing you want is for anyone to come to a sporting event and really not enjoy that experience because of symbols that really represent things we're not proud of.
"Going forward, we'll really have to look at where that other flag goes, because it doesn't have a place in our sport and we've got to take a thoughtful process on how we get to that place," Daytona track President Joie Chitwood said.
Two of NASCAR's most popular drivers have also said that it's time for the sport to distance itself from the Confederate flag.
"I've made my comments about the Confederate flag several times, and I stand behind NASCAR's stance to remove it.
"I think if it's offensive to an entire race, it really does nothing for anybody to be there flying. It belongs in the history books, that's about it," Dale Earnhardt Jr. said.
"As far as the Confederate flag I think that, I know how we approach it at Hendrick Motorsports and that is everything that we can control.
"We have eliminated the ability to use it in any way or it show up in any of the things that we are involved with. I think that is the stance I see that NASCAR has taken and have had that stance for several years.
"To me I'm in support of what they are doing. It's a delicate balance. We race all over, but the South is an area where we have a lot of fans. Everyone has different opinions and expression of that.
"I support NASCAR and the stance that they are taking," Jeff Gordon said.