- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s most popular driver, says the Confederate flag is “offensive to an entire race” and should be removed from the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse.

Earnhardt Jr.’s comments Friday followed an announcement NASCAR made this week backing South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s call to remove the flag from the Statehouse grounds. NASCAR also noted that it bars the flag symbol in any official NASCAR capacity. Earnhardt backed NASCAR’s position when asked about the issue before practice at Sonoma Raceway.

Earnhardt said that if the flag is “offensive to an entire race, it really does nothing for anybody to be there flying.”

“It belongs in the history books, that’s about it,” he said.

The suspect in the fatal shooting of a pastor and eight parishioners of a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, last week posed with the rebel battle flag before the attack. His use of the flag as a symbol of hate has prompted a reappraisal of the role such symbols play in the South.

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