Prior to Wednesday's race at Martinsville Speedway, NASCAR announced a ban of the Confederate flags at all events. Ray Ciccarelli, a Gander Truck Series driver-owner, threatened to quit over the decision, which sparked criticism from a prominent athlete. Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James mocked Ciccarelli with a comment on Instagram.
"Bye Bye!! I can probably say they won't miss you!" James wrote in response to the driver's now-infamous Facebook post. While Ciccarelli had said he would quit NASCAR and sell his team, he has not yet done so. He took part in Saturday's Baptist Health 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, finishing 29th overall. He also told TobyChristie.com that whether or not he sells the team is "TBD" midway through the season.
Ciccarelli originally drew attention when he spoke out about the decision to ban the confederate flag. He said, "I could care less about the Confederate Flag but there are ppl that do and it doesn't make them a racist" in a Facebook post. He also said that he believes in standing for the national anthem instead of kneeling. Although the 50-year-old driver later spoke about his comments and said that he believes people should be able to kneel. He just didn't agree with the stance changes by NASCAR.
"I guess I was just sitting there. I had seen the news thing come through referring to, NASCAR now allows you to kneel during the anthem, It just irritated me some," Ciccarelli said. "I believe in standing for the national anthem, and I believe that if you want to kneel during the anthem, you should kneel. It just kind of triggered me, because we're being told you can't kneel, now you can kneel. It just set me off.
"We're told one thing that we can't do, then you're told you can do," Ciccarelli continued. "Just to go back, about two years during the [Colin] Kaepernick deal, NASCAR did release a statement stating that team owners should take action to any teammates that decide to kneel during the national anthem. It was not going to be condoned what-so-ever."
Racing fans and bystanders alike have commented on Ciccarelli since he made the post on Facebook. Twitter users mocked him for hitting a wall during Saturday's race while others said he wants to "build a wall" like President Donald Trump. James didn't take part in these specific conversations but simply said that NASCAR won't miss him if he leaves.