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Pro golfer Bubba Watson bought himself a “General Lee” Dodge Charger for $110,000 at an auction because he loved it, not because he wanted publicity
Nevertheless, that is exactly what Watson got after being scheduled to drive the ’69 Charger on a parade lap before the March 4 Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix until NASCAR pulled the plug.
Why? Well, NASCAR is worried about the Confederate flag on the roof that made the General Lee famous, believing it would have a negative impact as the sport tries to grow and appeal to different demographics.
“The image of the Confederate flag is not something that should play an official role in our sport as we continue to reach out to new fans and make NASCAR more inclusive,” NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said.
The decision was made jointly by officials with NASCAR, the racetrack and the track ownership group International Speedway Corp. Unfortunately the decision has already irked Ben Jones, former actor in The Dukes of Hazzard who is also a former Georgia congressman.
“At a time when tens of millions of Americans are honoring their Union and Confederate ancestors during this sesquicentennial of the Civil War, NASCAR has chosen to dishonor those Southerners who fought and died in that terrible conflict by caving to political correctness and the uninformed concerns of corporate sponsors. This action by NASCAR is a provocative and unnecessary over-reaction to a problem that doesn’t exist. It is a disgraceful and gratuitous insult to a lot of very decent people. It is prejudicial toward those good-hearted folks who, like Uncle Jesse Duke, are in fact ‘never meanin’ no harm’,” Jones said.
Watson for the most part has remained neutral, but still believes that NASCAR should understand that the Confederate flag on the roof of the General Lee wasn’t used in the show for what people see it as today. Either way, Watson will still be attending the race in Phoenix; he just won’t be behind the wheel of the General Lee.
[Source: USA Today]