49ers’ Fred Warner says NASCAR banning Confederate flag shows ‘how important this issue is’

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR made headlines when it announced the banning of the Confederate flag at races and NASCAR-sponsored events. While the move was generally praised, the decision created a backlash from some hardcore NASCAR fans.

Most understand the perception surrounding the Confederate flag, and many feel its removal from the sport was long overdue. The decision shows just how much awareness surrounding racism, and systemic discrimination has grown in recent weeks.

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner joined a panel on NFL Network consisting of Steve Wyche, MJ Acosta, and White House correspondent April Ryan. Wyche asked Warner what NASCAR’s banning of the Confederate flag says to him.

“Just how important this issue is,” Warner responded, “and how they’re behind it 100 percent. That’s huge. That’s a very big step.

“Obviously, I don’t know a lot about NASCAR. You mentioned how it is a very big Southern sport. But the fact that they were able to take that leap means that we are creating real change, and we’re starting to do things regardless of the backlash that you’re going to get because, at the end of the day, these changes should be made with zero hesitation.

“But the fact that there are people who still do believe the things that they do and their hearts aren’t as open as others, these conversations needed to be had. Regardless if they’re tough or not, it needs to happen.”

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