124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

Can the driver who says he’s leaving NASCAR because they banned the Confederate flag please leave the planet too?

For the majority of lucid human beings of average to slightly above average intellect with an acceptable capacity for empathy currently reading this, we have good news: On Wednesday, NASCAR finally, officially banned the flying of the Confederate flag at all sanctioned races across the country. It was a long time coming (and long overdue), but let’s just take the good stuff where we can get it right now. Here’s NASCAR statement on the decision.

The news came hours after Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s only black driver, unveiled his #BlackLivesMatter livery for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 (just go with it.) Wallace could be seen crying during pre-race ceremonies at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday and later fainted from exhaustion, but applauded NASCAR’s no-brainer on Wednesday at Martinsville, going on to finish 11th in what he called “the biggest race” of his career.

Unfortunately, there always has to be one idiot who ruins it for everyone, and today that idiot is NASCAR Truck Series driver/owner Ray Ciccarelli, who responded to news of NASCAR’s newfound common sense by announcing that he would be packing it in after the 2020 season in protest. We’re hesitant to even post Ciccarelli’s statement below due to the risk of spontaneous brain liquefaction, but it feels important to remind everyone that sometimes our species really is as dumb as it seems.

There’s a lot to unpack here, but the crux of it is that Ciccarelli “couldn’t care less” about the Confederate flag despite quitting his job over it and doesn’t want to participate in “political BS!” while simultaneously defending the right to fly the flag of a POLITICAL organization (one, we should mention, that fought a war in DEFENSE of SLAVERY over ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS ago.) Kneeling during the National Anthem somehow comes into this as well, despite being related solely by its fixation with another rectangular piece of fabric blowing in the wind. If you can’t follow Ciccarelli’s logic, congratulations, you are a sane person.

There will surely be more where Ciccarelli came from—here’s hoping nobody offers Kyle Larson a penny for his thoughts—but despite the perception of the broader sports world, NASCAR, by and large, is going to get behind this. A decade too late and not a minute too soon, but like we said, we’ll take whatever we can get right now.