In a long-ranging interview, the only black driver in NASCAR’s Cup Series discussed why he advocated for the ban. And, above all, what he hopes it will accomplish.
“Removing something doesn’t mean that it’s gonna be instantly better. There’s gonna be people that are still carrying that pride, that want to voice their opinion on who should be there, who should not,” Wallace told the magazine. “Hey, let us handle that, you know? I’ve said the last couple weeks: no one should feel any different than going to a NASCAR race than they do going to an NBA game, NFL game, [or an] MLB game.”
Bubba Wallace discusses why he wanted the flag removed
NASCAR banned the Confederate Flag from all of its racetracks in June, the New York Times said. That was following Wallace’s push to get NASCAR to remove the stars and bars from the sport after the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd.
“The Ahmaud Arbery death to this day is still tough to even think about,” Wallace told the magazine. “And George Floyd was top of the line for me. You know, I took a stance and did not care what sponsors said.”
In addition to his fellow racers and NASCAR, his sponsors also stood by him. “Like you’re representing part of the government there,” he said. “And it’s just like damn, they’re sticking behind me 100 percent.”
NASCAR released a statement after issuing the ban.
“The presence of the Confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry,” NASCAR said at the time, according to ESPN. “Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community it creates is what makes fans and sport special. The display of the Confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.”
Not all fans have been pleased with the decision, however. Some fans called for a boycott of NASCAR after the decision was announced.
Bubba Wallace was recently nominated for the People’s Choice Award “Game Changer of 2020” for his work to address social injustice.