When NASCAR announced the ban of Confederate flags at all events and facilities, some viewers responded by saying that racing’s governing body is “forgetting its real fans.” NASCAR Executive Vice President Steve O’Donnell fired back with a special term for those that support the Confederate flag. He referred to them as “jackasses.”
O’Donnell made the bold statement with a post on social media. He tweeted out a photo of a Black person shaking hands with a White person. The exec said that there would not be any photos of a “jackass” flying a flag over the track. He instead used the photo to represent the unity that fans and viewers alike would see during Sunday’s Geico 500.
“I wish you would ask some of the reporters to do the same. I know it’s their job, but we don’t need to give the a$$ holes their 15 min. of fame,” one fan wrote in response. This comment referenced FOX Sports reporter Bob Pockrass posting a photo on Sunday afternoon that showed an airplane pulling a Confederate flag and the words: “Defund NASCAR.” Many fans thought the person in the aircraft was wasting their money and expressed the belief that Pockrass should have given them any publicity.
Following the ban, O’Donnell spoke to the FOX Sports reporter and explained that NASCAR is still working through the enforcement policies. There have been questions about how the governing body would deal with any fans not willing to comply. Will they force them to leave the track? Would NASCAR ban these people from future events?
“I have been very clear in my stance that the flag will be banned at facilities, so we are working through that with each track,” O’Donnell told Pockrass. “Obviously, Talladega’s our first one, but [there’s] nothing more to report other than it’s banned. Hopefully, fans will comply, and if not, we’ll deal with that.”
Fans have expressed a variety of emotions in the weeks since NASCAR banned the Confederate flag. Some proclaimed that they would never watch another race as a form of boycott. Others expressed gratitude and said that this decision would only expand the fanbase. The ultimate outcome is unknown, but O’Donnell knows that “jackasses” won’t display Confederate flags during the Geico 500.