NASCAR driver Ray Ciccarelli has deleted his social media profile amid widespread ridicule over his decision to quit the racing organization over its crackdown on Confederate flags.
According to The Hill, the truck driver and owner announced on Wednesday that he would be leaving the sport over the “political BS” he believed was behind the move to ban the flag from future events.
“Contrary to our commitment”
Ciccarelli confirmed that he would quit the NASCAR truck series and sell his team in a Facebook post criticizing the pro racing association’s perceived act of capitulation.
“I could care less about the Confederate Flag,” he wrote, asserting that it does not mean those who display it are racist, according to Fox News.
The NASCAR ban is one of several notable developments in the wake of widespread protests against police brutality and racial injustice. Statues of historical figures, military bases named after Confederate generals, and even the classic film Gone with the Wind have faced renewed scrutiny in recent weeks.
In its statement, NASCAR said that displaying the Confederate flag at events and properties “runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment,” THe Hill reported.
Citing a desire to unite fans “around a love for racing and the community that it creates,” the organization announced its new policy.
“I was misconstrued”
After Ciccarelli weighed in, he was met with some support but an onslaught of social media criticism, which led to his decision to delete his accounts. He has since attempted to clarify his stance.
“I don’t regret my feelings of believing in the national anthem and standing,” he said, according to Fox. “I don’t like the fact that I was misconstrued about defending the Confederate flag. Because in no way, shape, or form was I defending the Confederate flag.”
The decision to ban the flag came shortly after driver Bubba Wallace made public his request for the organization to update its policy, according to Bleacher Report.
Aside from Ciccarelli, there has been little backlash from drivers and their teams. An IndyCar flagman did lose his job after criticizing the ban, however, NBC News reported.
Times are rapidly changing — and NASCAR officials are wise to adapt in any way they believe will strengthen the brand. Of course, by the same token, a driver who disagrees with the move is free to do exactly what Ciccarelli did.