NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace recently called for racing's governing body to ban the confederate flag from future events to make all fans comfortable when they attend. Days later, NASCAR announced a significant change. The flag will indeed be prohibited after NASCAR President Steve Phelps said it was time to take a stand against racism.
"The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry," the governing body said in a statement. "Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties."
NASCAR and its drivers have been taking part in ongoing discussions amid worldwide protests. George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis at the hands of police officers further brought to light the issues of systemic racism. Racing's governing body promised to take action in pursuit of ending racial injustice, and many viewed banning the confederate flag as an important step.
When Wallace spoke to CNN about the confederate flag, he explained that banning the symbol would anger a lot of people. However, he said that it's time for a change. He encouraged NASCAR to have those conversations and ultimately make that decision before allowing fans to attend once again.
"My next step would be to get rid of all Confederate flags," Wallace said in an interview with CNN on Monday. "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." This conversation took place following Wallace wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt ahead of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.
Wallace is the driver that currently created the conversation about the confederate flag, but he is not the first. Back in 2015, NASCAR and its tracks requested that fans stop displaying the confederate flag. This discussion created an uproar from many viewers, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. supported the change.
"I've made my comments about the Confederate flag several times, and I stand behind NASCAR's stance to remove it," Earnhardt said during an interview at Sonoma Raceway. "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."