NASCAR issued a statement on Thursday, July 2, 2015 regarding the display of the Confederate Flag at their facilities and NASCAR events.
Michigan International Speedway signed on in support of NASCAR's stand.
The statement read, "As members of the NASCAR industry, we join NASCAR in the desire to make our events among the most fan-friendly, welcoming environments in all of sports and entertainment."
They went on to say, "This will include the request to refrain from displaying the Confederate Flag at our facilities and NASCAR events.
No doubt, this stand will generate much controversy among NASCAR fans.
I see the problem of one of perception. In Michigan and other northern tracks, many fans see the Confederate flag as a symbol of what was fought against in the Civil War. The Civil War is seen as a fight to free the slaves.
However, this perception is not shared by many in the South. While living in the South, I've heard the Civil War referred to as the War of Northern Aggression. That puts a different spin on everything. That explains the opinion of one NASCAR fan quoted this week as she sat in the infield at Daytona International Speedway.
"We're not flying it for controversy. Every race, we fly it. We've got the American flag, the rebel flag, the POW. It all to me goes together. Our freedom. It's Dixie."
But the pro-flag fans have to realize that not all fans feel this way when they see this flag. It can be offensive and a symbol of repression.
So to NASCAR fans, let's realize our sport is no longer a Southern sport but enjoyed by millions outside of the South.
Kudos to Michigan International Speedway for taking a stand that may cost them fans and attendance at the August race. However, it may bring in more fans who are happy to see an organization that is willing to take a hard stance because they feel it is right.