By Jared Turner
Dale Earnhardt Jr. calls the Confederate flag “offensive to an entire race,” and says, “it belongs in the history books and that’s about it.”
Earnhardt’s fellow drivers Jeff Gordon and Joey Logano agree with NASCAR’s statement that it supports South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s recent call for state lawmakers to remove the controversial symbol of the old Confederacy that currently rests outside the state capitol.
Darian Grubb, the crew chief for Carl Edwards, says the flag is “a symbol of hate to some people, so why have it around?”
Yeah, exactly. Why have it around?
Especially after gunman and self-proclaimed white supremacist, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, was accused of fatally wounding nine African-Americans at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17.
While supporters of the flag, which still hangs atop many fans’ RVs and motorhomes at NASCAR tracks throughout the country, defend it as merely a display of their family pride and heritage, this relic that invokes the passions of so many should be tucked away somewhere in a museum – not flying prominently at NASCAR tracks where it will be seen by thousands of passers-by, including many African-Americans.
This century-and-a-half old symbol of racism and hatred has been around since the Civil War was fought from 1861-1865 over states rights — which included the right to own and sell slaves.
While NASCAR has never formally endorsed the flag, the colors of the Confederacy have been a staple of NASCAR events since the sport began in 1948.
But this is 2015 and it’s time for the flag to go. NASCAR needs to take its criticism of the flag a step further and formally ban it from all tracks.
Will there be backlash if this happens? Oh, you’d better believe it. The sport may even lose some fans – forever.
But why should the will of a few trump what’s right – in this case, doing away with a symbol that solicits feelings of inexplicable pain to an entire segment of the population?
Earnhardt Jr. and the others are right. It’s time for the flag to vanish. And NASCAR needs to make it happen sooner rather than later.