Auto racing giant NASCAR said Wednesday that it is banning the display of the Confederate flag at all of its events and properties.
The announcement is sure to be controversial with a number of NASCAR fans, some of whom continue to display Confederate flags and symbols at racing events even five years after the organization asked fans not to do so.
Also Wednesday, NASCAR removed its rule mandating that racing team members stand for the national anthem.
NASCAR’s new outright ban on the Confederate flag comes more than two weeks after a black man, George Floyd, died when a white Minneapolis police officer named Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, even after Floyd repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.”
The incident ignited protests nationwide. It also triggered demands for the removal from public places of symbols of the Confederacy, the group of Southern states that started the Civil War in 1861 by seceding from the United States in a doomed, bloody effort to save the institution of enslaving black people.