Republican Candidate Ben Carson Tells NASCAR Fans Confederate Flag OK

Republican Candidate Ben Carson Tells NASCAR Fans Confederate Flag OK

In this Oct. 7, 2007, file photo, a Confederate flags fly in the infield as cars come out of turn one during a NASCAR auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala. NASCAR is backing South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's call to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds in the wake of a massacre at a Charleston church, it said in a statement Tuesday, June 23, 2015. Though NASCAR bars the use of the flag in any official capacity, many fans fly the flag at their races. (AP Photo/Rob Carr, File)
In this Oct. 7, 2007, file photo, a Confederate flags fly in the infield as cars come out of turn one during a NASCAR auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala. (AP Photo/Rob Carr, File)

(Sports Illustrated) – Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson thinks NASCAR fans should be allowed to fly Confederate flags on private property, he said at an event with racing legend Richard Petty on Monday.

The controversy surrounding the flag and NASCAR reached a peak this summer when racing fans continued to fly the flag in the wake of a racially motivated killing in Charleston, S.C., when nine black churchgoers were murdered by a white man. Petty called the debate over the flag, which is considered a symbol of southern pride by many who display it at racing events, “a passing fancy.”

Carson, who is the only African-American candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, said on Monday that people should be permitted to fly the flag if they want to, even if it is considered a hate symbol by many.

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