Image

5:53 AM / Wednesday January 20, 2021

11 Jun 2020

NASCAR vows to do better job addressing racial injustice

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
June 11, 2020 Category: Sports Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Bubbe Wallace (43) wears a “I Can’t Breath, Black Lives Matter” shirt before a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Sunday, June 7, 2020, in Hampton, Ga.  (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

By Paul Newberry

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Image

HAMPTON, Ga. — Bubba Wallace donned a black T-shirt with the words “I Can’t Breathe” and NASCAR paused before Sunday’s Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway to acknowledge the country’s social unrest. The governing body vowed to do a better job of addressing racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

During their warm-up laps, the 40 cars pulled to a stop in front of the empty grandstands and shut off their engines so NASCAR President Steve Phelps could deliver a message over their radio sets.

“Thank you for your time,” Phelps said. “Our country is in pain and people are justifiably angry, demanding to be heard. The Black community and all people of color have suffered in our country, and it has taken far too long for us to hear their demands for change. Our sport must do better. Our country must do better.”

A Black  NASCAR official took a knee along pit road, mimicking a gesture used by protesters in tribute to former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

All 40 crews stood on the wall in front of their pit boxes.

“The time is now to listen, to understand and to stand against racism and racial injustice,” Phelps said. “We ask our drivers … and all our fans to join us in this mission, to take a moment of reflection, to acknowledge that we must do better as a sport, and join us as we now pause and take a moment to listen.”

Wallace, the only African American driver in NASCAR’s top series, has been the sport’s most outspoken voice since Floyd died while in the custody of Minneapolis police, sparking massive protests in all 50 states and around the world demanding an end to law enforcement brutality against people of color.

Wallace’s T-shirt carried Floyd’s pleading words when an officer, identified as Derek Chauvin, pinned a knee on his neck for more than eight minutes while he was handcuffed. Chauvin and three other officers have been fired and charged in the incident, which followed the deaths of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

Protesters have cited all three African American victims in their demands for social justice.

After Phelps spoke to the NASCAR drivers, they observed a 30-second moment of silence. Then, as the cars refired their engines and slowly pulled away fo r the green flag, the Fox broadcast cut to a video made by a number of Cup drivers, including Wallace and seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, as well as retired star Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Several drivers also posted the video on their Twitter accounts, vowing to “listen and learn” from the protests that have rocked the nation. The vowed to “no longer be silent” and pledged to “work together to make real change.”

With its roots in the South and one-time embrace of Confederate symbols, NASCAR has a checkered racial history. The organization has launched diversity programs but still struggles to shake its reputation as a largely white sport.

During a shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, NASCAR driver Kyle Larson was fired after casually uttering a racial slur while competing in a video racing game.

“We need step up more than we ever have before,” said former Cup star Jeff Gordon, now a Fox broadcaster. “We are listening, we are learning and we are ready to change.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Stateside

Tricky situation: Inauguration Day is also move in/out day for Trump and Biden at the White House, could be complicated due to COVID

January 16, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email By DARLENE SUPERVILLE WASHINGTON (AP) — Moving from house to house is challenging...

Diaspora

Oklahoma begins Tulsa race massacre centennial remembrance

January 14, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: In this 1921 image provided by the Library of Congress, smoke...

Sports

The legacy of MLK and the sports world

January 14, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali mobbed by the...

Entertainment

Eastern State Penitentiary commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with interactive virtual readings, poetry, and music

January 14, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site will commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with...

Go With The-Flo

It’s Instagram official — Michael B. Jordan and Lori Harvey are a couple

January 14, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Michael B. Jordan (Photo: Featureflash / Shutterstock) By Florence Anthony Vice...

Food And Beverage

Create quality school day meals with simple shortcuts

January 14, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Vegetable and Rice Power Bowls Family Features The seemingly constant rush...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff