NASCAR officials took dramatic action last Wednesday in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder when they announced Confederate flags would no longer be allowed to be flown at any of their sanctioned races. In addition, spectators will not be admitted if they wear apparel bearing the Confederate flag.
Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, the only African-American driver on the NASCAR circuit, has long called for the flag to be banned and was thrilled when his goal became a reality. He has become one of NASCAR’s most popular stars.
While most people across the country cheered NASCAR’s decision as common-sense business it couldn’t have been an easy one to make. Its headquarters are located in Charlotte, NC, and stock car fans have tended to be politically conservative. Many of those prototypical fans vented their anger on Twitter.
A perennial also-ran on the NASCAR truck & RV circuit, Ray Ciccarelli, announced his retirement the next day and cited the flag ban as the reason he was hanging up his helmet. At age 50, Ciccarelli never won anything and had few commercial endorsements. His idiotic statement last Thursday gave him more publicity than he ever achieved from his work behind the wheel and appeared to be a contrived bizarre PR stunt to make him a darling of bigots.
Comedian Steve Hofstetter, who grew up in Briarwood and has long championed Queens in his national tours, got off a great joke that generated a lot of social media buzz: “Ray Ciccarelli was never good at anything race-related.”
Mets first-round draft choice Pete Crow-Armstrong is an 18-year-old outfielder who attended Harvard-Westlake High School in Los Angeles, Calif., the alma mater of former Mets infielder Josh Satin and perennial All-Star Christian Yelich. At 6 feet and 175 pounds, Crow-Armstrong is seen by Mets scouts as a player who will hit for average as opposed to power.
The Yankees selected University of Arizona sophomore catcher Austin Wells with their first pick. Wells was chosen in the 35th round of the 2018 MLB Draft but wisely decided to attend college in Tucson instead. He is one of the few catchers who is comfortable wearing glasses.
Francis Lewis High School senior Lauren Hidalgo was named a recipient of a $10,000 college scholarship from the Yankees-Stonewall Fund, which began last year in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots in the West Village, which many cite as the birth of the gay rights movement.
I was saddened to learn of the passing of former Mets and Yankees outfielder Claudell Washington who, while never a superstar, had a very respectable 17-year career in the majors. He was always a pleasant interview.