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New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara attended Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and praised NASCAR for its decision to ban the display of Confederate flags at all of its events in an effort to address systemic racism.
“I don’t think it’s about when to say it,” Kamara said, per David Wilson of the Miami Herald. “It’s about it actually being said. It’s taken this long to do it and it is what it is. Me personally, I’m not going to be mad at that because the climate dictated it. The fact that they sat down and got rid of it, and are making these strides to flip the script, that’s all you can ask for.”
Wilson noted NASCAR extended an invitation to Kamara to attend the race that featured 1,000 fans in the stands, most of whom were military personnel.
Kamara arrived at the track with a shirt and hat supporting Bubba Wallace, who became the first black driver to race in the Cup Series in more than 10 years in 2017.
Wallace made national headlines Monday when he told CNN’s Don Lemon that NASCAR needed to ban Confederate flags. The sport elected to do just that two days later.
“No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. It starts with Confederate flags,” Wallace said. “Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”
Wallace also raced in a car featuring a Black Lives Matter paint scheme and wore a shirt with the words “I Can’t Breathe” prior to last Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in honor of George Floyd, who was killed after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while he said he could not breathe.
Kamara praised Wallace for taking such a notable stand:
“I know he’s got the weight of the world on his shoulders being the only African-American driver with what’s going on and what the climate of the world is right now, and taking a stand. He’s backed into a corner right now and it takes a lot of courage to be in the place that he’s in and still say, ‘You know what? I’m going to stand up for what’s right instead of just being quiet’ and I commend him on that. It takes a lot of bravery. It takes being comfortable in your skin to be able to do something like that.”
Wallace later took to social media to show Kamara some love:
The Saints running back has also been active on social media and engaging with NASCAR fans:
It appears the sport has a new fan after it banned the Confederate flag and took strides during this moment of national conversation and reflection.