Bubba Wallace, the only black driver in NASCAR, called for the organization to ban Confederate flags at its events in order to remove any perceived association of the sport with racism, Mediaite reported.
Wallace is the first black driver to participate in NASCAR’s top series since the 1970s. He said the racing league has done a lot to combat racism, but the Confederate flag issue is one that should be removed immediately.
“My next step would be to get rid of all Confederate flags,” Wallace said. “No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. It starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”
Wallace said fans who have a problem with the removal of the Confederate flag can “get back on the road where you came from.” He said he previously didn’t have a problem with the Confederate flag, and he was uneducated about kneeling protests when they first began, but his views have changed over time.
“There’s going to be a lot of angry people that carry those flags proudly, but it’s time for change,” Wallace said. “We have to change that, and I encourage NASCAR — we will have those conversations to remove those flags.”
Wallace wore a T-shirt that read “I can’t breathe” and “Black Lives Matter” to a race in Georgia last weekend, in a show of solidarity with protesters of the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.
Wallace, whose car normally features a McDonald’s sponsorship, will drive a car featuring a Black Lives Matter paint scheme during Wednesday’s race in Martinsville, Virginia.
“I think by running this branding on our car, putting the hashtag out there, bringing more awareness to it, it lines up with the videos that we had put out as NASCAR,” Wallace said, according to CNN. “Listening and learning. Educating ourselves. So people will look up what this hashtag means. And hopefully get a better understanding.”