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NASCAR Truck Series driver says family was attacked over his Confederate flag comments

Ray Ciccarelli, the NASCAR Truck Series driver who vowed to retire after the Confederate flag was banned from races, says his family has been ‘abused’ on social media in the wake of his comments, which he’s insisting were never intended as a defense of the rebels.

‘I wasn’t raised the way people are portraying me to be. That’s just not me,’ Ciccarelli told TobyChristie.com before a race in Miami on Saturday. ‘I am not that type of person. Just the attack — my wife, my family have been attacked and abused on social media. It’s just heartbreaking.’

While referencing athletes kneeling in protest of racism during the national anthem, Ciccarelli announced his decision to retire on his Facebook page following Wednesday’s announcement.

Ray Ciccarelli, the NASCAR Truck Series driver who vowed to retire after the Confederate flag was banned from races, says his family has been ‘abused’ on social media in the wake of his comments, which he’s insisting were never intended as a defense of the rebels

Ray Ciccarelli stands on the grid prior to the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Baptist Health 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on June 13, 2020 in Homestead, Florida

Ciccarelli said he does not regret anything, but stressed that he was not defending the Confederate flag, which has been a common sight at NASCAR events for the last 70 years

Ciccarelli (left) said he does not regret anything, but stressed that he was not defending the Confederate flag, which has been a common sight at NASCAR events for the last 70 years

‘I don’t believe in kneeling during Anthem nor taken (sic) ppl right to fly what ever (sic) flag they love.,’ he wrote. ‘I could care less about the Confederate Flag but there are ppl that do and it doesn’t make them a racist all you are doing is [expletive] one group to cater to another.

‘I ain’t spend the money we are to participate in any political BS!! So everything is for SALE!!’

The 50-year-old Ciccarelli is described as a part-time owner/driver on the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, which is a few rungs below the NASCAR Cup Series on the stock car hierarchy.

Speaking with Toby Christie, Ciccarelli said he does not regret anything, but stressed that he was not defending the Confederate flag, which has been a common sight at NASCAR events for the last 70 years.

‘I regret how it was misconstrued,’ Ciccarelli said. ‘I don’t regret my feelings of believing in the national anthem and standing. I don’t like the fact that I was misconstrued about defending the Confederate flag. Because in no way shape or form was I defending the Confederate flag.

‘Everything I was saying was the fact that I understand both sides’ feelings toward the flag. My viewpoint, all I was trying to say is how do you take [the flag] from one group and help support the group that it offends and then what do you do to the group that you took it from? Now, they get outraged.’ 

Ray Ciccarelli (left) finished 29th at the NASCAR Truck Series event in Florida on Saturday

Ray Ciccarelli (left) finished 29th at the NASCAR Truck Series event in Florida on Saturday 

Ciccarelli objects to 'taken (sic) [people's] right to flag what ever (sic) flag they love'

Ciccarelli objects to ‘taken (sic) [people’s] right to flag what ever (sic) flag they love’

Ciccarelli’s reaction comes as Bubba Wallace, the NASCAR Cup Series’ only black driver, began racing with a new ‘Black Lives Matter’ paint job in response to the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man who died art the hands of Minneapolis police on May 25.

While the Confederate flag remains a symbol of southern pride to some, its history is inextricably linked with slavery and the racist motivations behind the secession of the southern states in 1860. As Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stevens (pictured) said at the onset of the Civil War: 'Our new [government's] foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man'

While the Confederate flag remains a symbol of southern pride to some, its history is inextricably linked with slavery and the racist motivations behind the secession of the southern states in 1860. As Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stevens (pictured) said at the onset of the Civil War: ‘Our new [government’s] foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man’

Wallace has continued to stand for the national anthem before races, but has recently begun wearing an ‘I Can’t Breathe’ shirt during the Star-Spangled Banner, which is a reference to the dying last words of Floyd and Eric Garner, a black man who died while being put in a chokehold by New York cops in 2014.

While Ciccarelli doesn’t condone kneeling in protest of such killings, as former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began doing in 2016, he told Toby Christie that drivers should be allowed to do so.

What he wants, Ciccarelli said, is consistency from NASCAR on all forms of political speech.

‘We’re told one thing that we can’t do, then you’re told you can do,’ he said. ‘Just to go back, about two years during the Kaepernick deal, NASCAR did release a statement stating that team owners should take action to any teammates that decide to kneel during the national anthem. It was not going to be condoned what-so-ever.

‘I feel everybody has a right to their opinion. And that was my opinion. I believe people can kneel, and protest and do what they love and support and all that. I wasn’t trying to offend anybody. That’s not something that I wanted to do in any shape or form.’

He finished 29th in the Truck Series race in Miami on Saturday. He has vowed to retire at the end of the season.  

Bubba Wallace (left) has continued to stand for the national anthem before races, but has recently begun wearing an 'I Can't Breathe' shirt during the Star-Spangled Banner, which is a reference to the dying last words of Floyd and Eric Garner, a black man who died while being put in a chokehold by New York cops in 2014

Bubba Wallace (left) has continued to stand for the national anthem before races, but has recently begun wearing an ‘I Can’t Breathe’ shirt during the Star-Spangled Banner, which is a reference to the dying last words of Floyd and Eric Garner, a black man who died while being put in a chokehold by New York cops in 2014

NASCAR helmet artist Jason Beam tweeted 'ignorance wins again, NASCAR you realize the North had slaves too, lol not just the South, you want to remove the American Flag as well, idiots.' And a publicist for one NASCAR driver tweeted the decision was 'a joke.' Since then, Wallace, Jimmie Johnson, and other drivers have said they would no long be doing business with Beam Designs

NASCAR helmet artist Jason Beam tweeted ‘ignorance wins again, NASCAR you realize the North had slaves too, lol not just the South, you want to remove the American Flag as well, idiots.’ And a publicist for one NASCAR driver tweeted the decision was ‘a joke.’ Since then, Wallace, Jimmie Johnson, and other drivers have said they would no long be doing business with Beam Designs

Ciccarelli wasn’t the only person in the stock car racing world to object to NASCAR’s decision.

NASCAR helmet artist Jason Beam tweeted ‘ignorance wins again, NASCAR you realize the North had slaves too, lol not just the South, you want to remove the American Flag as well, idiots.’ And a publicist for one NASCAR driver tweeted the decision was ‘a joke.’

NASCAR helmet artist Jason Beam tweeted 'ignorance wins again, NASCAR you realize the North had slaves too, lol not just the South, you want to remove the American Flag as well, idiots'

NASCAR helmet artist Jason Beam tweeted ‘ignorance wins again, NASCAR you realize the North had slaves too, lol not just the South, you want to remove the American Flag as well, idiots’

Since then, Wallace, Jimmie Johnson, and other drivers have said they would no long be doing business with Beam Designs.

Wallace called out Beam Designs for a lack understanding labelling the company’s response to the ban as ‘#garbage’.

‘Nah homie, as person I’ve done business with in the past and ALWAYS respected the work you’ve done for ones in the industry. 

‘You made it clear of where you stand in today’s matter. All respect lost for ya dawg. #garbage,’ tweeted Wallace.

Johnson, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano were all much more direct in ending their business relationship.

‘In light of some inappropriate tweets, I will no longer use the services of Beam Designs,’ tweeted Johnson.

In this 1962, file photo, a confederate flag is held behind Junior Johnson of Ronda, North Carolina as he poses with his sister, right, and Ginger Pointevint, Miss Sun Fun USA, left, in the winner's circle after the Southern 500 auto race at Darlington Speedway in South Carolina

In this 1962, file photo, a confederate flag is held behind Junior Johnson of Ronda, North Carolina as he poses with his sister, right, and Ginger Pointevint, Miss Sun Fun USA, left, in the winner’s circle after the Southern 500 auto race at Darlington Speedway in South Carolina

While the Confederate flag remains a symbol of southern pride to some, its history is inextricably linked with slavery and the racist motivations behind the secession of the southern states in 1860.

As Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stevens infamously said at the onset of the Civil War: ‘Our new [government’s] foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man.’

The issue was pushed to the forefront this week Wallace, an Alabama native, who called for the banishment of the Confederate flag and said there was ‘no place’ for it in the sport.

‘This is about our brothers and sisters that are suffering through a lot,’ Wallace told ABC’s Good Morning America on Thursday. ‘You look at the Confederate flag and how, yes, it may mean heritage to most, but to a group that is in a lot of pain right now — the African American community is in a lot of pain — that’s a symbol of hate. And it brings back so many bad memories, signs of oppression from way back when.

‘There’s just no good that comes with that flag,’ he continued. ‘That’s the message we’re trying to get across. It’s not about you. It’s about a group of people that we are trying to bring together and make this world a better place.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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