'Defund NASCAR' Confederate Flag Banner Flies on Day Noose Is Found in Bubba Wallace's Stall

NASCAR announced a ban on the hate symbol last week

Defund Nascar banner
Photo: John Bazemore/AP/Shutterstock

Just days after NASCAR banned the Confederate flag from its events and properties, a banner showing the hate symbol with a call to "defund" the auto racing company flew over Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

The banner was flown by plane over the famous speedway, which was to host the Geico 500 on Sunday before severe weather led to its postponement, according to ESPN.

The flag has been at the center of renewed controversy amid the Black Lives Matters protests that have taken place worldwide following the death of George Floyd on May 25 while in police custody. Bubba Wallace, the first full-time Black driver to race in the Cup Series in nearly 50 years, called on NASCAR to ban the symbol from its events.

"No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race," he told CNN last week.

The Confederate States of America used the flag before its downfall in 1865. It has since "served as a potent symbol of slavery and white supremacy, which has caused it to be very popular among white supremacists," according to the Anti-Defamation League.

In a statement on Wednesday announcing the ban, NASCAR said the move would help provide "a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry."

Bubba Wallace
Jared C. Tilton/Getty

"Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special," the statement continued. "The display of the Confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties."

According to ESPN, the banner that flew over Talladega was not the only sighting of the hate symbol on Sunday. A pickup truck was seen with Confederate flags in the area, and a tent outside of the track flew the flag along with Trump 2020 banners.

"People are disappointed that NASCAR has taken that stance," Alabama resident Ed Sugg told the outlet. "It's been around for as long as all of us have been. I don't think anybody really connects it to any kind of racism or anything. It's just a Southern thing. It's transparent. It's just a heritage thing."

The flag wasn't the only controversy to befall NASCAR on Sunday. According to the organization, a noose was found in Wallace's garage stall later that afternoon.

"NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team. We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act," NASCAR said in a statement shared by several reporters on social media.

RELATED: NASCAR's Bubba Wallace to Race in ‘Black Lives Matter’ Car After Asking for Confederate Flag Ban

An "immediate investigation" has been launched, and NASCAR said it would "do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport."

Wallace, 26, later responded, and said that while the incident left him "incredibly saddened," he will continue to speak out against hate.

"Nothing is more important and we will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate," he said on Twitter. "As my mother told me today, 'They are just trying to scare you.' This will not break me, I will not give in, nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in."

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.

• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.

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