Top NASCAR drivers vow in video to push for 'real change' on racial issues

Sporting News

NASCAR's top drivers have added their voices to calls for racial equality in the United States.

Kevin Harvick, Kyle and Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano were just a few of the drivers to commit to "listening and learning" and pledge to "advocate for change in our nation, our communities and, most importantly, in our own homes."

Bubba Wallace, the lone black driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. also were shown reading portions of the statement.

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Last week, Wallace spoke of his experiences with racial injustice last week on Earnardt's podcast. Earnhardt later praised Wallace's leadership in educating him and active drivers.

Wallace made an individual statement on the track before Sunday's Folds of Honor Quikrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway — wearing a T-shirt the bore the words "I Can't Breathe" and "Black Lives Matter."

George Floyd told former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, "I can't breathe," as Chauvin held his knee against Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes on May 25 while Floyd was in police custody for alleged forgery. Floyd later died. His death ignited protests and rioting around the world. Chauvin, who was fired, has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

MORE: Wallace appears to pass out in postrace interview

The drivers' Zoom-style video was similar in style to a video made Thursday by prominent black NFL players who called on the league to make a stronger statement against police brutality and racism than the one it issued May 30 on behalf of commissioner Roger Goodell. Goodell responded Friday with a video statement that gave the players most of what they wanted .

The drivers' full statement:

"We're no strangers to moving fast and we know how life can have that same quality, but now is the time to slow down and reflect.

"The events of recent weeks highlighted the work we still need to do as a nation to condemn racial inequality and racism. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others in the black community are heartbreaking and can no longer be ignored.

"The process begins with us listening and learning, because understanding the problem is the first step in fixing it. We are committed to listening with empathy and with an open heart to better educate ourselves. We will use this education to advocate for change in our nation, our communities and, most importantly, in our own homes, even after the headlines go away.

"All of our voices, they make a difference, no matter how big or how small. It is all of our responsibility to no longer be silent.

"We have a long road ahead of us, but let's commit to make that journey together. Our differences should not divide us. It is our love for all mankind that will unite us as we work together to make real change."

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