News

North Carolina, sports and protest

Unless you were under a rock (and even if you don’t care about sports) you likely spent the weekend hearing about protests and reactions to protests in professional football, basketball, baseball, even protest (speculation) in NASCAR.

The Carolina Panthers took the field for the National Anthem, with no one on the team taking a knee. Only Julius Peppers remained in the locker room.

The NASCAR is pretty fascinating, despite no one from the sport having yet taken a knee or otherwise made a public, physical declaration of protest.

Former drivers and team owners Richard Petty and Richard Childress – both North Carolinians –  said they would fire anyone on their teams who joined in the protest.

But NASCAR is composed of owners, drivers, fans – many of them at odds politically and socially. It’s not monolithic.

Making that clear, Dale Earnhardt Jr. – a North Carolina native voted the most popular NASCAR driver for the last 14 consecutive years – lent his support to those who choose to peacefully protest and condemning those – like President Trump – who try to discourage them.

But it’s also unavoidably true that as an organization NASCAR’s attempts to prevent their brand from being conflated with racism have been…less than strenuous.

Back in 2015 NASCAR CEO and chairman Brian France called the Confederate flag it an “offensive symbol” and said, “we will go as far as we can to eliminate the presence of that flag.”

“As far as we can” ended up being a program whereby NASCAR politely asked people not to fly Confederate flags and encouraged people to trade those flags in for an American flag.

That flopped. They took no further action. Today it’s easy to find Confederate flags at just about any NASCAR event.

Check Also

Senate approves early voting bill with little debate

The N.C. Senate approved a controversial early voting ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

If it seemed impossible that neighbors of industrialized hog farms had any legal rights left to lose [...]

Can you put a price tag on victims' rights? A fiscal note obtained by NC Policy Watch that has [...]

A new bill to relocate the “Silent Sam” Confederate monument on UNC’s flagship Chapel Hill campus ai [...]

As LGBTQ advocates face an uphill battle to expand North Carolina’s existing Hate Crime laws this le [...]

In another effort to pander to the minority of Americans who want to make abortion and birth control [...]

The practice of loading down noncontroversial legislation with divisive and partisan provisions is a [...]

It usually happens a few times every legislative session: at some point during their annual stay in [...]

Just when you thought U.S. immigration policy couldn’t get any crueler or more dysfunctional, along [...]