NASCAR gets too big for Southern britches
The Daily News – Jacksonville, NC

To the editor:

With the start of the 2006 NASCAR season in February, I wish to provide some comments on the sport’s continuing efforts to pave over its Southern heritage.

The efforts of NASCAR’s big dogs, Brian France (board chairman and CEO, and both chief operating officers, Mike Helton and George Pyne, have included removing races from the South as well as officially distancing the sport from its Southern heritage — and from the Confederate Battle Flag.

In its drive to not appear offensive to anyone, NASCAR does not recognize its own bigotry toward the sport’s original fan base.

What is more distressing and hurtful are the actions of some of the drivers. Dale Earnhardt Jr., one of the South’s own, has continued to make it quite clear (notwithstanding his publicist’s claims to the contrary) that he has no use for Southern heritage. From his agreement with his rapper pal Ludacris that the battle flag’s Cross of Saint Andrew should be replaced with Malcolm’s “X” to his statement (in part) that “….anybody who is trying to show that flag is probably too ignorant to know what the hell he’s doing,” he demonstrates his lack of respect for Southern heritage. His blanket condemnation of anyone who flies the battle flag (closed-minded and racist) is deeply insulting not only to his father and his own ancestors but to those of us who defend true Southern heritage and the good name of the Confederate soldier.

For us, flying the battle flag is meant to honor our Confederate ancestors. Hate groups that have hijacked the battle flag have no concept of its true meaning. Junior’s disrespect is also an appalling insult to the sacrifices the Southern citizen-soldiers made (some gave all) in defense of their families, homes and states against the Northern invader. None of his statements indicate that he has a real understanding of true Southern heritage and what the War for Southern Independence was really about.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s use of his celebrity status to demonstrate his disrespect of Southern heritage and NASCAR’s obsessive race from its roots are regrettable but understandable in the quest for power and money. My family and many friends are no longer Junior or NASCAR fans. Perhaps NASCAR should cease being so hypocritical and just move out of the South lock, stock and barrel.

Walter L. Adams

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