Bubba Wallace says all NASCAR fans are not racist a month after Confederate flag ban from racing events
The NASCAR driver made the point while talking about how people now automatically associate the company with the Confederate flag
Popular race car driver Bubba Wallace, in an appearance on Desus & Mero, on Thursday, July 16, suggested that the current narrative of NASCAR fans being racist is not true. The NASCAR driver made the point while talking about how people now automatically associate the company with the Confederate flag.
"We always want to pay attention to the negative, but the narrative that's been out there now is saying all NASCAR fans are racist, and whatnot, and that's totally not true," Wallace said. "I've gone down in the fans, in the infield at Talladega, wherever it's at. Daytona, Texas, Michigan, and I never knew if people were flying the Confederate flag. We would go there and drink beer, have a good time, and hang out. It wasn't like they don't want you there."
Wallace, the only African American driver in NASCAR's top series, last month had called on the stock car racing association to ban Confederate flags at its events. The race car driver, in a statement to CNN, had said: "No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. It starts with confederate flags." Wallace's objection to the flags came amidst a widespread anti-racism movement in the United States after George Floyd's killing in police custody in Minneapolis.
Consequently, NASCAR announced on June 10 that the Confederate flag would be banned from its speedways and other properties;
Wallace, on Thursday, explained that when he suggested that NASCAR ban Confederate flags, he did it in an effort to attract more fans and to change the face of the sport to make it more diverse. Wallace's call for a ban on Confederate flags had offended a lot of NASCAR fans. The Confederate flag, which was used by the seceded Southern states or the Confederacy during the Civil War, is controversial in the United States due to its longstanding associations with racism, slavery, segregation, and White supremacy.
"Why aren't there more sponsors? Maybe because of the Confederate flag. Let's just get rid of it at NASCAR races," Wallace said. "I'm not saying you have to get rid of it in your daily life. You know what I'm saying? You can wear that proudly at home, but when you come to a NASCAR race let's show that we're all welcoming. You may not carry any hate in your heart, and that's totally fine. I know not every person is bad, not every NASCAR fan is bad, but we have to show that, hey, we want other people to be a part of our sport as well."
The race car driver's statement came days after he was booed by NASCAR fans at at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee during his introduction at the beginning of a qualifying event. The fans' disapproval was linked to a suspected noose found in Wallace's garage stall last month, which was deemed as a garage door pull by the FBI later.
NASCAR, on June 25, however, had released a picture of the suspected "noose" found in Wallace's garage stall at Talladega on June 21, declaring that "the noose was real". The incident was investigated by the FBI for possible hate crime before they revealed that the "noose" was a garage door pull-down rope that was in place for nearly a year. The pictures released by NASCAR show a long rope fashioned into a loop, however, with one end of it coiled around the knot. The images released by the company "have a striking resemblance to a noose." NASCAR, along with the FBI, on June 22, had launched an investigation into the matter and had revealed that a white driver, Paul Menard, had also used the rope previously in the same stall in 2019.