Leader of group that flew Confederate flag over Talladega wrongly says NASCAR infringed on the First Amendment
The leader of the Sons of Confederate Veterans must reread the Bill of Rights.
The group is responsible for renting an aircraft to carry a Confederate flag and a banner that says "Defund NASCAR" over Talladega on Sunday. It was the first race on the Alabama circuit since NASCAR forbade fans to fly the Confederate flag on circuit properties.
NASCAR is a private company. It has the unrestricted right to ban certain objects in its tracks. Nevertheless, Paul Gramling tried to inform the Columbia Daily Herald that NASCAR was violating fans' First Amendment rights by banning the flag.
Who wants to tell Gramling that the first change does not apply to private company bans? From the Daily Herald:
"NASCAR's ban on the display of the Confederate flag by its fans is nothing short of trampling on the southern states' first amendment right to freedom of expression," said Paul C. Gramling Jr., commander in chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. “This un-American act cannot be left unchallenged. [On Sunday] members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans' Confederate Air Force demonstrated their refusal to trample NASCARs against the Southern Union's First Amendment Rights. During and before the start of the NASCAR race in Talladega, Alabama, our aircraft flew a banner announcing a trip to “Defuse NASCAR”.
“It is the Sons of Confederate Veterans' hope that NASCAR fans will have the basic American right to be proud of their family and heritage. The Sons of Confederate Veterans pride themselves on the diversity of the Confederate military and our modern Southland. We believe that the defamation of our southern heritage by NASCAR only further divides our nation. The Sons of Confederate Veterans will continue to defend not only our right, but also the right of all Americans to celebrate their legacy. We trust NASCAR will do the same. "
The leader of a group that honors the legacy of those who have fought the United States says that something that is clearly permitted by law and the United States Constitution is "un-American."
It is also unclear exactly how NASCAR could be "defused". Since, as you know, it is a private company and not a public body. The only way to defuse NASCAR is to have Fox and NBC's television contracts terminated and sponsors drop out of the series. That will not happen. Hell, NASCAR would not have taken the steps to ban the Confederate flag if it hadn't thought the move would be a net positive result to attract new viewers and corporate sponsors.
The group has tried sponsoring a NASCAR car in the past, but NASCAR said no. NASCAR has not approved the use of the Confederate flag in official functions for decades. This month's ban will come five years after the sanctions authority simply asked fans not to raise the flag on rails. This request came after a white supremacist killed nine parishioners in a black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
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Nick Bromberg is an author for Yahoo Sports.
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