Re: Should NASCAR Ban the Confederate Flag?

From: "northcarolinasouth"

Readers of the Greensboro (NC) News & Record respond (below) to sports columnist Rob Daniels’ contention that NASCAR should ban the Confederate flag.

You can continue to respond to Daniels’ column with a letter to the Fans’ Forum at PO Box 20848, Greensboro NC 27420, via fax at (336) 373-7067, or via e-mail to

Thursday, Jun. 26, 2008 3:00 am

Regarding "NASCAR should ban Confederate flag at tracks" (Sports, June 24) by Rob Daniels, if you want to improve viewership, start the Rebel Series of Races. The best way to improve viewership is to embrace your fan base, not alienate it.

I guess you enjoy poverty, because writing articles like this will antagonize many of your readers and reduce circulation.

Keep writing. The sooner ignorant people like yourself, people who choose to learn history from the back of cereal boxes, are proven incorrect and the true history of the South is restored to common knowledge, the sooner this nation may address some of its more important problems like high school dropout rates, poverty, black-on- black violence, teen pregnancy and STDs.

Bart Siegel
Temple Terrace, Fla.


The Confederate flag? Long may it fly, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

NASCAR without the Confederate flag? Big bore! Tiger Woods’ performance in the U.S. Open was much more exciting.

But NASCAR with the Confederate flag? Now that’s something to cheer about. Anything that makes Judeo-Christian liberals and secular progressives gnash their teeth, rend their clothes and throw dust in the air has got to be exciting.

Donald Beck
Rockville, Md.


Rob Daniels’ article regarding NASCAR and the American flag in question is unfortunately full of misinformed opinion.

Again, it is an American flag he criticizes and it represents the heritage of American Southerners who fought many years ago for independence, and in the same manner the American colonists fought in 1776.

In the War Between the States, about 260,000 Southern Americans lost their lives under that flag, which included some 40,000 North Carolinians who never came home. Certainly we can show some respect for those war dead, and those today who revere their ancestors. And keeping in mind that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were "rebels" of the first order, can Daniels be serious about drivers encouraging their fans to not carry "rebel" flags?

Daniels is incorrect in stating that the Bill of Rights is a contract. Those rights were a condition of ratification of the Constitution, as the states were wary of giving carte blanche power to a federal agent, i.e. government, they had created. The states simply agreed to maintain the union as long as the rules were followed, and reserved the right to withdraw should the rules be violated. This is government by the consent of the governed.

He is right that NASCAR is a private organization and can establish whatever rules it wishes for those who want to attend its events and pay the admission requested. Those in NASCAR know that if they turn away customers because of the color of their skin or the American flag they carry, they can get in trouble deeper than just losing the potential income.

If NASCAR wants ticket receipts, it needs to attract customers and as Daniels suggests, not alienate its fan base. This is the essence of being in business, and ironically why leftist newspapers across the country are biting the dust.

There is a strong lesson to be learned here.

The totalitarian world which Daniels longs for exists in Cuba and North Korea — step out of line, accept the wrong ideology, or carry the wrong flag, and you are in prison until successfully re- programmed. It is thankfully still different here in the United States.

Bernhard Thuersam


This is in response to the Rob Daniels article. First of all, I wish that people would do a little research before they actually print an article.

It is obvious that Rob didn’t pay a lot of attention when he was in school during history. In his article he calls the Confederate "battle flag" the Stars and Bars. The Stars and Bars was the first national flag of the Confederacy. It has a circle of Stars with a blue background, and red and white bars. It looked so much like the U.S. flag, it was sometimes confusing to both sides, so it was changed.

There are groups that use the "battle flag" as a symbol that I do not agree with. I can’t help that. I am a loyal compatriot of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Both of my great- grandfathers fought for the true United States of the Confederacy. One was wounded three times at Gettysburg and taken POW, the other was with George Pickett during his charge. They give me the right to say that if anything should be banned, it should be Rob Daniels from writing his opinions.

The people at the NASCAR races have as much right to fly the "battle flag" as he does to have his articles printed. I hope if people see his article, that the flag flies even higher.

Danny Murray


In response to Rob Daniels’ article that "NASCAR should ban the Confederate flag," I would like to offer the following:

Martin Luther King spoke of judging men on the content of their character. Too bad many who claim to admire him are ignorant of these words. All people seem to see is that the South had slavery, so therefore the South was evil. Instead of studying why we fought, that being we were invaded and fought back, they seem to prefer living in ignorance and hatefulness.

In fact, it seems they were born offended and are only happy when they are offended.

"The veterans, their families and Southerners, loved me. They kept alive the tales of valor and the legends of bravery. They passed them to their grandchildren and they to their children, and so on to you. I have shrouded the bodies of heroes, I have been laved with the blood of martyrs, and I am enshrined in the hearts of millions, living and dead. Salute me with affection and reverence. Keep undying devotion in your hearts. I am history. I am Heritage, Valor and Devotion, not hate, I am ‘your’ flag."

Gary Adams
Hayes, Va.


In his editorial "NASCAR should ban Confederate flag at tracks," Rob Daniels makes quite a few claims without ever making a point. He states, "Years ago, some people started bringing the symbol to races." The symbol? The only symbolism Daniels mentions is the idea of "Heritage, Not Hate," which he states is "old." Heritage is old? Is "old" a bad thing, Daniels? The people who wave the flag aren’t holding nooses. They aren’t wearing sheets. They aren’t crying secession.

They’re proud to be Southerners — a group the rest of the country, along with Daniels, loves to bash with impunity. Attack the South. Blame the South. Belittle the South. Who cares that Abraham Lincoln himself declared the Civil War to be a matter of union? Or that his famed Emancipation Proclamation kept slavery intact in all states and areas under Union control. Or that the American flag flew over legalized slavery for 89 years?

Hopefully, Daniels won’t stop there. I can’t wait to see his column on how public schools should outlaw references to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. I look forward to reading his arguments on why Native Americans should outlaw the flying of the American flag on their reservations. While he’s at it, I hope he’ll make sure to encourage all of us to put on blinders and judge our ancestors based on 2008 standards. That’s fair and unbiased, wouldn’t you say?

Steve Johnson
Glendale, Ariz.

— In, wrote:

In the Greensboro (NC) News & Record, Rob Daniels writes that NASCAR should ban the Confederate flag. "Heck,

[NASCAR CEO Brian France] can even burn it at some dude’s infield barbecue for all I care," writes Daniels. "A hearty meal of pork shoulder, stars and bars would hit the spot."

The complete column follows. Please respond with a letter to the editor at PO Box 20848, Greensboro NC 27420-0848, by fax to (336) 373-7067, by e-mail to edpage@… or by using the web form at


By Rob Daniels
Staff Writer
Tuesday, Jun. 24, 2008 3:00 am

Sometimes, things are precisely what they appear to be. (See United States v. Michael Vick.) Sometimes, they’re not. (See Overzealous, Attention-Craving Activists v. Duke Lacrosse.)

So in the spirit of our society’s newfound interest in fairness, let’s heed the caution flag in Mauricia Grant’s $225 million litigation against NASCAR. The federal courts will assess the merit in the 43-page, 10,424-word denunciation and will proceed accordingly.

Regardless of what a judge or jury will accept, ignore or toss out altogether, Grant’s filing in New York has given CEO Brian France a wonderful opportunity take at least one corrective action: Ban the Confederate flag. Heck, he can even burn it at some dude’s infield barbecue for all I care. A hearty meal of pork shoulder, stars and bars would hit the spot.

Just make sure fans can no longer bring the symbol into tracks conducting NASCAR events.

The whole "Heritage, Not Hate" rhetoric is so old by now that some put the flag on public display to wield a weapon of backlash. Years ago, some people started bringing the symbol to races. Then others dissented. And now we’re seeing the opposition to the opposition. (At the University of Mississippi, one researcher chronicled an obvious increase in the number of flags flown outside the football stadium in the immediate aftermath of a policy forbidding their presence inside the gates.)

As for NASCAR, a ban might even put some fuel in the tank of the organization’s alleged "Drive For Diversity," which so far has as much movement as rush hour in Boston.

For years, the Frances have been the French on this topic; they’ve thrown up their hands and claimed they can’t do anything about it. One common line of reasoning says the First Amendment gets in the way. This is false. It’s the argument made by people who place "I Support Our Troops" bumper stickers on their cars but can’t name more than three freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

The First Amendment is a contract between the government and its citizens that begins with the phrase "Congress shall make no law" and continues from there. It doesn’t necessarily enforce every segment of conduct in society. NASCAR is a private organization and, as such, has the right to regulate some aspects of its consumers’ behavior — just as a restaurant can refuse service to a nudist who claims freedom from clothing is his freedom of speech.

Just as a black-owned "soul food" restaurant can order a clown in a Klan outfit to leave the premises.

There’s precedent here. After its fans ignored genteel requests, Ole Miss was forced to go to court to prevent them from bringing the flag and flagpole into the football stadium. The school won when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling issued in 1999 that upheld the ban on safety grounds.

NASCAR has also dodged the question by claiming "tracks’ rights." Owners of each venue regulate what can and cannot be brought inside the gates. The governing body has no authority here, they say. (Slightly refreshing change: At least NASCAR is passing the buck instead of keeping it.)

Again, this is a cop-out. If the organization can require tracks to install SAFER walls — which it has — it can surely get involved in the flag flap. It’s quite simple: If you don’t comply with NASCAR policies, you can’t host one of their events.

But NASCAR hasn’t been willing to alienate its core fan base, which may not be quite as erudite as all the demographic studies suggest. The organization wants it both ways. It wants to be praised for spending money on minority development, but it doesn’t want to take a practical stand that would put its mouth where its money is.

Of course, the drivers could take the wheel on this one, but they have been uniformly reluctant — and that’s a nice word — to discourage their supporters from waving the Rebel flag.

A Yahoo! Sports column by Dan Wetzel articulated this point two years ago. No other sport has the sort of "brand loyalty" seen in NASCAR, which is another way of saying NASCAR fans buy whatever their favorite driver tells them to.

The opportunity is there. The silence is telling.