NASCAR star Bubba Wallace doesn't want Confederate flags at race events as it makes people 'feel uncomfortable'
Wallace, the only black driver in the Cup Series, wore an "I Can't Breathe" shirt to a race in the wake of George Floyd's death
NASCAR star Bubba Wallace is advocating for changes amid the country's battle against systemic racism. The 26-year-old pro-racer, who wore an "I Can't Breathe" shirt to a race in the wake of George Floyd's death, has now called for the removal of Confederate flags flying at race tracks across the USA, People reported. "No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race," Wallace, who is the only black driver in the Cup Series, told CNN on Monday. "So it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them."
The Alabama native admitted he wasn't bothered by seeing the flags previously, but after "diving more into it" and educating himself, he now understands why the symbol makes people uncomfortable.
Wallace said he knew some fans would disapprove of his opinion, but he believes it would be the right step for the NASCAR community to take down Confederate flags from tracks. "There's going to be a lot of angry people that carry those flags proudly but it's time for change," he explained to CNN. "We have to change that, and I encourage NASCAR to have those conversations to remove those flags."
"We should not be able to have an argument over that," he added. "It is a thick line we cannot cross anymore."
In 2015, NASCAR requested fans not to carry Confederate flags to its races and even hosted a flag exchange program. “As members of the NASCAR industry, we join NASCAR in the desire to make our events among the most fan-friendly, welcoming environments in all of sports and entertainment," the racing body said at the time. "To do that, 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."
"We are committed to providing a welcoming atmosphere free of offensive symbols. This is an opportunity for NASCAR Nation to demonstrate its sense of mutual respect and acceptance for all who attend our events while collectively sharing the tremendous experience of NASCAR racing," they added.
NASCAR President Steve Phelps promised to better address racial injustices during a speech at the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 in Atlanta on Sunday. "Our country is in pain, and people are justifiably angry, demanding to be heard," Phelps said, as reported by ESPN. "The black community and all people of color have suffered in our country, and it has taken far too long for us to hear their demands for change. Our sport must do better. Our country must do better."
"The time is now to listen, to understand and to stand against racism and racial injustice," Phelps continued. "We ask our drivers ... and all our fans to join us in this mission, to take a moment of reflection, to acknowledge that we must do better as a sport, and join us as we now pause and take a moment to listen."
The NASCAR president also took part in a call-to-action video featuring several stock-car racers including Wallace, who shared the clip on his Twitter and wrote: "We will listen and learn! #BlackLivesMattters."
With that said, the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 is slated to run Wednesday at 7 pm ET.