Dukes: NASCAR Will Gain New Fans Due To Flag Ban

NASCAR has banned the Confederate Flag at all races and events

The DA Show
June 11, 2020 - 12:01 pm

NASCAR stunned the sports world Wednesday, this after banning the Confederate Flag at all races and events.

Atlanta’s 92.9 The Game host Carl Dukes, like many, couldn’t believe it.

“We were on the air when that statement came down from NASCAR,” Dukes said on The DA Show. “As news breaks in our business, you kind of do a double-take. There was a moment for me that I went, ‘Wow.’ To think this would happen with a sport that traditionally has been looked upon as not being inclusive, and the statement to say symbolism matters, I think that’s important for people to understand.”

Reaction among fans has been mixed.

“There’s certainly been folks that are upset, the hardcore NASCAR fans that feel like this shouldn’t be happening,” Dukes said. “But as I said yesterday, I think NASCAR is smart enough to realize that, yes, you might tick off a few people, but in the big picture, in moving forward with this, you’re going to gain a lot of new fans.”

As a result of the ban, however, one driver, Ray Ciccarelli, is quitting after the season. He is also mad that NASCAR will no longer require team members to stand for the national anthem.

While Ciccarelli is upset, other drivers, like Bubba Wallace, believe the change is long overdue.

“Bubba Wallace has been outspoken about this, but Dale Jr. has been saying this for years now,” Dukes said. “He’s been on the forefront of trying to get NASCAR to move forward with some of these things. So yes, it was a tremendous moment of, ‘Wow,’ and, ‘Is this real?’ Good for NASCAR. Because this is the kind of thing that needs to happen in sports to continue to move this conversation forward.”

Dukes believe that sports that preach tolerance and inclusion will reap the rewards.

“I think the people we see and the energy you’ve seen in the streets over the last few weeks, those people are who you’re talking to,” Dukes said. “I think the message to them has to be one of inclusion. I think the message has to be one of accountability. We’ve talked a lot about police brutality and the effect on the black community and communities of color here over the last few weeks more than I think I ever have in my entire career. But there also is an accountability to sports. So we talk about the idea that Roger Goodell can make a statement, but many of the NFL owners – who we look upon as being spokespeople for our teams, for our communities and having the influence and the clout and the brands that they have – not speaking out, that’s not being accountable. 

“So I think the accountability is a big part of this in sports as we move forward, and I think the sports that are accountable and acknowledge what’s going on and recognize how important it is, those sports will thrive, and they will be better for it. I think that’s the thing that NASCAR got yesterday with that statement.”