Sunday, June 28, 2015

the confederate flag in Nascar... it's time is over

NASCAR this week said it backs South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's call to remove the Confederate flag from the State House, and said it disallows the flag symbol in any official NASCAR capacity.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he's long felt that the flag has no place in present day use "I think it's offensive to an entire race," Earnhardt said during his media availability at Sonoma Raceway. "It belongs in the history books and that's about it." while voicing his support for it being removed from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol.

Teammate Jeff Gordon says Hendrick Motorsports has long prohibited any merchandise that uses the Confederate flag symbol.

Kelley Earnhardt Miller, Dale’s daughter, relayed a story in which her dad removed the Confederate flag from a popular bumper sticker that said “American by birth, Southern by the grace of God” when he learned the flag made his African-American housekeeper uncomfortable.

He left the phrase, but sliced off the controversial symbol of the South.

Dale Jr., in his 2001 autobiography, wrote about a speaking engagement where a fan asked him his thoughts on the rebel flag. After what he characterized as a “chorus of redneck yelps and cheers,” he described what led him to an interesting answer.

The guy has put me in a bind. As much as I brag about being a no-[B.S.]-tell-it-like-it-is-here's-how-I-see-it kinda guy, I know that these are the fans that pay my salary, so I'm hesitant to tell him the rebel flag represents closed-minded, racist views that have no place in today's society. Give 'em a straight answer and I may piss off the "rebels" in the crowd ... But I have my opinions and I don't want to give a dishonest answer, either. I feel like the weight of the Civil War is resting on my shoulders.

I take a couple of breaths and say, "I think it means something different to me than it does to y'all ..."

in 2006 Yahoo Sports asked 30 drivers to discuss the flag, all but one turned down requests for private interviews, written statements or any comment on the issue. Many did so tersely.

The only driver willing to speak on the issue was Dale Earnhardt Jr., who previously has expressed concern over the flag's meaning, hardly made a definitive statement, but at least had the guts to say something. (That's leadership folks, when only one person steps up to talk about a controversy, you've just seen leadership and guts)

"We live in a country where you can speak freely and do as you may," Earnhardt said. "I don't know what that flag stands for is the same for me as it is the guy who might have it flying out there.

"I am not going to agree with everything everybody does all my life. So I don't have any control over it."

When that is the best you can get out of nearly three dozen supposedly fearless, independent and talkative drivers, the silence is as telling as the sagging TV numbers. (or it's publicity smart, where they live and die by sponsorship)

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