Ray Ciccarelli, who vowed to stop competing in NASCAR races after the sport banned the flying of the confederate flag, seems to be backtracking amid blowback. “I wasn’t raised the way people are portraying me to be. That’s just not me. I am not that type of person,” he said in an interview with TobyChristie.com. “My wife, my family have been attacked and abused on social media. It’s just heartbreaking.”
Circcarelli emphasized that he doesn’t regret posting the controversial statement, in which he also said, “i don’t believe in kneeling during Anthem nor taken ppl right to fly what ever flag thy love,” on his now-deactivated Facebook page.
But, he clarified that he was “in no way shape or form was I defending the Confederate 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 then what do you do to the group that you took it from?”
Ciccarelli said his frustration was not with the flag ban or kneeling during the American anthem in protest, but with NASCAR changing its stance. “It just kind of triggered me, because we’re being told you can’t kneel, now you can kneel. It just set me off,” he said.
This comes after Ciccarelli, who competes in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, driving the No. 49 truck with only one top 10 finish in the last three years, wrote angry Facebook post on the same day NASCAR announced it would ban any presence of the Confederate Flag at its events.
“Well its been a fun ride and dream come true but if this is the direction Nascar is headed we will not participate after 2020 season is over, i don't believe in kneeling during Anthem nor taken ppl right to fly what ever flag they love. 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 f*****g one group to cater to another and i ain't spend the money we are to participate in any political BS!! So everything is for SALE!!” the post read.
NASCAR announced the decision to ban the Confederate Flag after the urging of driver Bubba Wallace, who supported the ban to help fight racial injustice.
"The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry," NASCAR said in a statement last week.
"Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all events and properties."