JACKSON, Miss (WJTV)- Tommy Joe Martins, a NASCAR driver, is speaking out in support of NASCAR banning the Confederate flag and the changing of the Mississippi state flag.
From Como, Mississippi Martins took to Instagram in light of NASCAR’s decision to ban the confederate flag — a symbol embedded in the Mississippi flag.
“When I first started in my stock car racing career , when I ran the Mississippi state flag up on my car , and the first time I went to Nashville fairgrounds speedway I had a few of the drivers come up to me later on and basically saying their first impression was that I must be this huge redneck. “
In another instance someone took the flag off his car.
“I had the Mississippi state flag peeled off of my car because the only thing that an official saw was the Confederate flag and assumed something about me that was wrong,” Martins said.
Mississippi is in yet another passionate battle over to keep or replace the flag that some deem racist.
Others say it’s just being proud of their southern heritage.
“Somebody can’t tell the difference, right like it can’t be nuisance , you can’t fly the confederate flag and go oh , well I just mean it this way,” said Martins. “It’s like there are hate groups that are using it, like the KKK is using the Confederate flag.”
He says the world is changing and research and realizations have to be made.
“For somebody that doesn’t know you , what’s their first impression if that’s what they see, and what’s their first impression of a state of that’s something they see that’s part of a state object that’s flying above the capitol building,” he said.
Martins says he has received a little backlash, but getting out the true perspective he says, about the Mississippi and Confederate flag in 2020 is what he’s trying to do.
“They’re not seeing the whole picture they’re just seeing that one little piece, and it’s okay to let it go — it’s okay to let it go and we can find something else to represent us better,” he said.
The Mississippi native adds, “He’s hopeful the current Mississippi flag will come down sooner rather than later and he endorsed the Stennis flag.