South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley called for the removal of the Confederate Flag flying over the South Carolina State House on Monday. The announcement was made days after a mass shooting that took place at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. Nine African-American congregants were murdered in the racially-motivated act.
On Tuesday, NASCAR released a statement announcing their support of Governor Haley’s position. It reads as follows:
“As we continue to mourn the tragic loss of life last week in Charleston, we join our nation’s embrace of those impacted. NASCAR supports the position that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley took on the Confederate Flag on Monday. As our industry works collectively to ensure that all fans are welcome at our races, NASCAR will continue our long-standing policy to disallow the use of the Confederate Flag symbol in any official NASCAR capacity. While NASCAR recognizes that freedom of expression is an inherent right of all citizens, we will continue to strive for an inclusive environment at our events.”
International Speedway Corporation, which owns and operates Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, also announced their support for the position on Tuesday.
“We join NASCAR in support of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s position on the Confederate Flag,” ISC President John Saunders said. “ISC strives to ensure all fans are welcome to enjoy our events and maintains an inclusive environment at our facilities nationwide. ISC will continue our long-standing practice to prohibit the sale of Confederate Flag material on our property.”
While no rule changes have come about in the aftermath of the mass shooting, it should be noted that both NASCAR and ISC support the governor’s decision. The legislature in Columbia voted Tuesday in favor of debating the movement of the Confederate Battle Flag, currently located on state capitol grounds after being relocated from the top of the capitol’s dome in 2000, but a final decision will not be known for weeks.