Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s only full-time black driver, said Friday that he would not be surprised if some fans protested the ban on the Confederate flag circuit, sarcastically adding that they would be safe from police brutality.
NASCAR, a cornerstone of southern culture, stunned fans for two weeks by banning the Confederate battle flag from its events in the wake of global protests, sparked by the death of George Floyd, against police brutality and systemic racism.
The racist emblem had long been a fixture in NASCAR racing, hailed by fans in the stands and on parking grills. Wallace said a segment of older fans is unhappy with the ban and hopes they will voice their discontent.
“They’re going to be making a lot of noise outside,” Wallace said during a regularly scheduled briefing. “It is part of that.”
But he mockingly observed: “It is exactly what you see on the reverse side of everything that happens and in the cities as they protest peacefully.” But you won’t see the cops spraying them with pepper and shooting them with rubber bullets, right?
Police and protesters clashed in the month after Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, especially Washington, where the National Guard and police used force to drive peaceful protesters out of Lafayette Square, just north of the White House. .
Authorities in riot gear and armed with pepper spray cleared the way for President Donald Trump and his photo shoot at the historic Episcopal Church of San Juan, in a move that was heavily criticized by the church and senior military officials.
Wallace said any fan NASCAR loses due to the Confederate flag ban will be made up of new consumers exposed to the sport for the first time.
“They are your rights to protest peacefully, my man. It’s a part of it, “said Wallace.” But you won’t see them inside the racetracks where we are having fun with the new fans who are buying their tickets, buying the clothes of their favorite drivers. You won’t see it flying there. “
A small plane flew over Talladega Speedway in Alabama on Sunday, dragging the Confederate flag and a sign, “Defund NASCAR.” A pro-Confederation group that claimed responsibility for the flyby said it plans to repeat the action at other NASCAR events this year.