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9 Jun, 2020 18:18

'Get rid of all Confederate flags': NASCAR star Bubba Wallace says sport can no longer tolerate controversial flag at racetracks

'Get rid of all Confederate flags': NASCAR star Bubba Wallace says sport can no longer tolerate controversial flag at racetracks

Bubba Wallace, one of the most successful African-American drivers in NASCAR history, has called for fans to be banned from bringing Confederate flags to races, and says that the time has come for a change in the popular sport.

Alabama native Wallace, who drives the number 43 car for Richard Petty Motorsports, added his voice to the wave of protests currently taking place across the United States by wearing a t-shirt which read "I can't breathe/Black Lives Matter" prior to Sunday's race in Atlanta, and he has since underscored his stance by calling for the sport's authorities to take a harsher stance against potentially racist behaviour.

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"My next step would be to get rid of all Confederate flags," Wallace told CNN as he discussed the changes he wants to see in the sport.

"No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. So it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them."

The Confederate flag has been linked by some to racism in the United States, though sections of its supporters maintain that it is strictly a token of the history and heritage of the southern United States. 

NASCAR has taken measures to phase the flag out of its races in recent years. It doesn't allow the flag to be used in any official capacity and the sport's authorities begun asking fans to stop bringing the flag to races since 2015, though this is not enforced. 

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Confederate symbols have steadily been removed from public spaces in America over recent years, while it was also reported that the U.S. Marine Corps has banned its use under any scenario this week. 

"There's going to be a lot of angry people that carry those flags proudly, but it's time for change," Wallace continued.

"We have to change that, and I encourage NASCAR. We will have those conversations to remove those flags."

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When pushed on whether he thought that his stance on the matter would upset some people, Wallace countered by saying that hurting some people's feelings is less of an issue than making the changes to America that society-at-large seems to be calling for.

"We should not be able to have an argument over that," he said.

"It is a thick line we cannot cross anymore."

And for Wallace, there is only room for one flag at the racetrack.

"What I'm chasing is checkered flags, and that was kind of my narrative."

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