On Thursday, NASCAR’s national series tracks announced that they are asking their fans to refrain from displaying the Confederate flag, following the deadly, racially-motivated attack at a South Carolina church two weeks ago.
The race facilities have promised to provide the most “welcoming environments in all of sports and entertainment,” and issued a statement to their fans, asking them to help make a more “welcoming atmosphere” for those that attend the events.
“As members of the NASCAR industry, we join NASCAR in the desire to make our events among the most fan-friendly, welcoming environments in all of sports and entertainment,” the statement said, according to USA Today. “To do that, we are asking our fans and partners to join us in a renewed effort to create an all-inclusive, even more welcoming atmosphere for all who attend our events.”
Statement on inclusiveness at NASCAR events: http://t.co/8ox6VsUeiG
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 23, 2015
“We want to be inclusive to everyone, and the last thing you want is for anyone to come to a sporting event and really not enjoy that experience because of symbols that really represent things we’re not proud of,” Joie Chitwood, the track president said. “Going forward, we’ll really have to look at where that other flag goes, because it doesn’t have a place in our sport and we’ve got to take a thoughtful process on how we get to that place.”
The move comes just days before Sunday’s race at the Daytona International Speedway, and a week after NASCAR issued a statement banning the official use of the Confederate flag. Daytona will be holding a voluntary exchange program where fans can exchange their Confederate flags for American flags.
“We want to be open and inclusive. We want to celebrate the American flag this weekend. That’s the flag that we should be celebrating. We’re going to have flags available so if fans want to exchange whatever flags they have for an American flag, we want to make sure they wave our nation’s flag. It’s our nation’s birthday. We’re going to have military there. That’s going to be our goal.”
NASCAR chairman Brian France and drivers such as Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Jeff Gordon have also spoken out against the flag, calling it offensive. Now NASCAR is joining in too.
“We are committed to providing a welcoming atmosphere free of offensive symbols,” the tracks said. “This is an opportunity for NASCAR Nation to demonstrate its sense of mutual respect and acceptance for all who attend our events while collectively sharing the tremendous experience of NASCAR racing.”
The statement was signed by International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports Inc., as well as 30 specific tracks. It also included several independent tracks including: Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, Pocono Raceway, and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Do you agree with NASCAR asking their fans to refrain from flying the Confederate flag? Leave your comments below.
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