CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A national debate regarding NASCAR and the Confederate flag was reignited after last week's race in Tennessee.
Major media outlets like ESPN and the USA Today are highlighting the issue after Confederate flags were seen flying at the Bristol Motor Speedway over the weekend.
All of this comes as people are still grieving from the deadly situation in Charlottesville earlier this month. Now, one of NASCAR’s biggest stars is weighing in.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted “Hatred, bigotry, and racism should have no place in this great country. Spread love.”
Hatred, bigotry, & racism should have no place in this great country. Spread love. https://t.co/aJRxVB4cqB— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) August 14, 2017
ESPN commentator Will Cain said the Confederate flag has other meanings besides racism.
“It’s not shorthand for somebody in the NASCAR infield who is a racist, it can be, I’m not saying it’s not, I’m just saying it’s not always, and to treat these people as individuals,” said Cain.
A similar debate emerged after the church murders in Charleston. Following the deadly Charleston shooting, NASCAR asked fans not to bring the Confederate flag.
At the time, NBC Charlotte spoke to Dr. David Goldfield, a professor of southern history at UNC Charlotte.
“I think this is a good move on NASCAR’s part,” he said at the time. “Flying the Confederate battle flag in effect not only disenfranchises but offends a good quarter or third of the population in our region.”
Following the latest tragedy, NASCAR released the following statement:
NASCAR brings fans of all different backgrounds and points of view together to celebrate one thing they all have in common – a love for NASCAR. We are saddened by recent tragic events around the world and feel strongly there is no place for bigotry, racism, hatred or violence in our society.
NBC Charlotte also reached out to Charlotte Motor Speedway. A spokesman declined to go on camera but said they offer a program for anyone to exchange a Confederate flag for an American flag or the Charlotte Motor Speedway flag.
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