Calling the Confederate flag an “insensitive symbol” he personally finds offensive, NASCAR chairman Brian France said the series will be aggressive in disassociating the symbol from its events.
“We want to go as far as we can to eliminate the presence of that flag,” France told The Associated Press on Saturday. “I personally find it an offensive symbol, so there is no daylight how we feel about it, and our sensitivity to others who feel the same way.
“Obviously, we have our roots in the South, there are events in the South, it’s part of our history like it is for the country. But it needs to be just that, part of our history. It isn’t part of our future.
“We want everybody in this country to be a NASCAR fan, and you can’t do that by being insensitive in any one area.”
In re: to whether banning the flag/symbol infringes on fans’ freedom of expression, France exclaimed:
“That’s what we’re working on — working on how far can we go,” he said. “If there’s more we can do to disassociate ourselves with that flag at our events than we’ve already done, then we want to do it. We are going to be as aggressive as we can to disassociate ourselves with that flag.”
France has received widespread support, both inside the organization and out.
Earlier this week: NASCAR publicly backed South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s stance to remove the Confederate flag from state capitol grounds, and also reiterated that the it does not permit the flag symbol to affiliated with NASCAR in any legal capacity. In addition: the sport’s biggest superstar, Dale Earnhardt Jr., recently went as far to say: “The flag belongs in the history books” and is “Offensive to an entire race”.
Stay tuned for further details — as it goes without saying that any sort of “official” ban at races will be a very, very significant moment in the sport’s (and country’s) history.