Confederate flag flown over Bristol speedway weeks after it was banned by Nascar

Confederate flag flown over Bristol speedway weeks after it was banned by Nascar
A Confederate Flag paid for by the Sons of Confederate Veterans is flown over the Bristol Motor Speedway prior to the Nascar Cup Series All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on 15 July, 2020: (2020 Getty Images)

A Confederate flag was flown over the Bristol Motor Speedway prior to an All-Star race, despite the symbol being banned from Nascar events last month.

The banner, which was flown over the race on Wednesday, included the website address, “SCV.org,” which is run by non-profit organisation, The Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), according to USA Today.

The all-male organisation based in Tennessee describes itself as “devoted exclusively to commemorating and honouring Confederate soldiers”.

The Nascar race in Bristol, Tennessee, was the largest sporting event in the US since they were shut down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Up to 30,000 people were allowed to attend the race. While attendance figures haven’t been released, it seemed that around 20,000 spectators had shown up.

The incident on Wednesday occurred after a flag was flown over the track at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama on 21 June. SCV claimed credit for the flag, according to The Hill.

At the time of the incident, SCV commander-in-chief Paul C Gramling Jr told the The Columbia Daily Herald of Nascar’s decision: “This un-American act shall not go unchallenged.”

In June, Nascar decided to ban the Confederate flag at their events, after the competition’s only black top driver, Bubba Wallace, called for such a move.

“My next step would be to get rid of all Confederate flags. …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,” Mr Wallace told Don Lemon in a CNN interview.

When they announced the ban, Nascar said that the flag “runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry.”

Over the last couple of months there has been a growing conversation in the US about the place of symbols of the Confederacy, following Black Lives Matter protests.

Monuments to Confederate leaders have been taken down in states across the US. The Marine Corps ordered the removal of Confederate flags from their installations last month.

“The Confederate battle flag has all too often been co-opted by violent extremist and racist groups whose divisive beliefs have no place in our Corps,” the service said in a statement.

Donald Trump has criticised Nascar’s decision to ban the flags.

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