Bubba Wallace on Confederate flags at races: ‘Get them out of here’
Noting “it’s time for change,” Bubba Wallace said Monday night his goal is to “get rid of all Confederate flags” at NASCAR races because “no one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race.”
Wallace made his comments on “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon.”
Wallace also voiced his support for a black NASCAR official who saluted and kneeled during the national anthem before Sunday’s Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Wallace noted conversations drivers have had with NASCAR leading to the video that drivers posted Sunday condemning racial inequality and racism.
Asked what would be the next action in the sport, Wallace said: “We are trying to figure out next steps, and my next step would be to get rid of all Confederate flags. There should be no individual that is uncomfortable showing up to our events to have a good time with their family that feels some type of way about … an object they have seen flying.
“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.
“The narrative on that before, I wasn’t bothered by it, but I don’t speak for everybody else, I speak for myself. What I am chasing is checkered flags. That was kind of my narrative, but diving more into it and educating myself, people feel uncomfortable about that, people talk about that. That’s the first thing they bring up. There’s going to be a lot of angry people that carry those flags proudly, but it’s time for change. We have to change that. I encourage NASCAR, and we will have those conversations.”
In 2015, NASCAR asked fans to refrain from displaying the Confederate flag at its races, releasing a statement signed by tracks. The statement came a day after Daytona International Speedway announced it would offer a flag exchange before the July race.
Sunday night, Ryan Blaney also said that the Confederate flag is not needed at races.
“I don’t really enjoy it because sometimes I feel like the people that wave them mean the negative when they wave them and that’s not cool,” Blaney said. “Yeah, I’d love to not see them at the race track, honestly, because it doesn’t make everyone comfortable, so that’s kind of where I stand on that. Bring your 50 stars flag. I think that would be way better.”
Asked about the Confederate flag after Sunday’s race, Brad Keselowski said: “I only salute one flag and that’s America’s. I recognize that that flag might mean something different to different people, but it doesn’t mean United States of America to me. But I’m not gonna tell people they need to get rid of it. That’s not my right either, but I certainly don’t salute it or respect it, or probably anyone else who feels the same way, but, at the end of the day it’s not our call.”
Also on his appearance on CNN, Wallace discussed NASCAR official Kirk Price, who kneeled and raised his fist during the invocation. Then during the national anthem, Price, who served active duty for three years in the U.S. Army, remained kneeling while saluting the flag.
“If I would have seen it, I would have went there and stood next to him, kneeled next to him because it’s such a powerful move. A man, an incredible man who has served our country kneeling down. People think it’s disrespecting the flag and going against our military and it’s definitely not. I was so uneducated what the kneeling meant when it started but now reading about it and what it stands for … and I’m still doing a lot of learning myself, don’t get me wrong, I don’t know everything about what’s going on in the world but that’s what we are trying to deliver the message. Listen and learn to be able to better educate ourselves.”