Bubba Wallace is very aware that his social stances upset some people. However, he says in a recent interview, that standing up for what he believes in has been worth the backlash.
Wallace talked about his stances, including his support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, and the response with E!’s Justin Sylvester on the weekly “Just the Sip” podcast. The episode was released on Wednesday (Jan. 13).
“Bubba, people in the NASCAR community respect you in what I find to be one of the most polarizing sports, probably of our time,” Sylvester says in the opening minutes of the podcast. “Was it always that way?”
Wallace responds to Sylvester by saying he thinks “it has changed a little bit this year, for sure, with everything that’s gone on.”
Then he adds: “I p–sed a lot of people off this year.”
The driver also says he feels like he was a “crowd favorite.” And feels he could “relate to a lot of people sitting in the stands.” However, some of those fans in the stands didn’t like what he had to say. And the 27-year-old Bubba Wallace knows it – and has accepted it.
“Hey, when you start to speak on things that affect you in real life, people hate that,” the driver said. “So now I’m hated. Oh, well.”
Bubba Wallace Gets NASCAR to Ban Confederate Flag from Races
One of Bubba Wallace’s most important stances over the past year was asking NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag from races.
He tells Sylvester that many people reached out to him after seeing the flag at races. According to Wallace, these people no longer planned to support NASCAR because of the flag’s presence.
“I was like, you know what? We could get this out of here,” Wallace says during the podcast. “I mean, if this is holding back a huge race that we are trying to attract; a huge demographic that we’re trying to branch our (audience to), let’s just get rid of it. And it was as simple as that.”
Wallace says during his early days in racing he was not always aware of how the flag upset many who see it. “I was too young either to understand it or want to understand what that flag meant,” he adds. “Seeing everything that we on this year and seeing a lot of tweets and social media things come out … (I thought) let me do my research. …”
What that research led Bubba Wallace to believe is that the Confederate flag shouldn’t be part of NASCAR events. “… There is so much more hate with (the flag) than it is heritage,” Wallace says.
Driver Talks About Race in NASCAR
He also says there are “a lot of African American people, men and women” and people of color who work behind the scenes in the sport. “We need to do a better job at recognizing them so that people will know,” he adds. “A lot of people think it’s just me out of, I don’t even know how many people are a part of the sport as a whole. … We’re the minority.”
According to E!, two days after Wallace asked for the Confederate flag to be removed, NASCAR agreed and banned the flag. Wallace says he accepted the backlash over the request “and moved on.”
“It’s sad to see that so many people are stuck in their ways and don’t want to change,” Wallace says during the podcast. “And, hey, I’m guilty of being afraid of change. … But when it comes to more of things about your neighbors, about human beings, and what’s right, it’s just like, why don’t you want to do due diligence? And why don’t you want to reach out and figure out, ‘Hmm, what is he really, actually talking about?’ instead of assuming things and thinking that it’s this, and thinking that it’s that, when it has nothing to do with what you’re thinking of.”