The Confederate flag is no longer welcome at any NASCAR event.
NASCAR confirmed the ban, which several drivers have recently spoken out in favor of, in a statement on Wednesday, three days after NASCAR President Steve Phelps addressed the competitors and fans to say that the sport and country “must do better” with race relations.
NASCAR’s statement reads: “The presence of the Confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry. Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the Confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR Events and properties.”
The death of George Floyd, a black man in Minnesota, at the hands of a white police officer, has sparked days of national protests and conversation. In the last week and a half, NASCAR and its drivers have been using their social media platforms more and more to share their thoughts on the subject, while hoping to educate themselves about the experiences of the black community in the process.
On Sunday, Phelps shared his message as the drivers sat in their cars on the front stretch at Atlanta Motor Speedway. NASCAR also held a 30 second moment of silence to acknowledge recent events, and drivers participated in a video expressing a commitment to learning and becoming a part of change.
Additionally, NASCAR has also eliminated a guideline that for competitors relating to conduct for the National Anthem. Handed out before each driver/crew chief meeting the directive stated, “when the flag is displayed… all persons should face and stand at attention with their right hand over their heart… persons should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart… when the flag is not displayed… all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.”
That guideline was eliminated before the Atlanta race, giving way for competitors to protest peacefully during opening ceremonies should they choose. On Sunday, NASCAR official Kirk Price, a U.S. Army veteran, knelt and raised his fist during the innovation.