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Protesters Put Up Confederate Flag @ NCAA Tournament Venue + NCAA Responds

It’s sad that in 2017, shit like this is becoming the norm. But then again, a lot of stranger things are becoming the norm.

According to WYFF 4:

The NCAA released a statement Sunday after members of the South Carolina Secessionist Party flew a large Confederate battle flag next to the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville.

The display is happened as the NCAA holds the final day of the first and second rounds of the men’s college basketball tournament in the arena.

The flag was mounted on a pole that was several feet long, anchored in the bed of a pick-up truck that was parked on the top level of a city garage next to the arena.

“I felt like someone had punched me in the gut,” said Amy Stromberg, a fan visiting from out of town. “It’s very disturbing what that flag represents and I thought in South Carolina we were past that now.”

The flag could be seen from miles away.

The Secessionist Party put the flag up around 9:30 Sunday morning and plans to fly it until 5 p.m. or 6 p.m.

Members of the group said they want the NCAA to be aware of the flag and that they also want to pressure lawmakers to speed up the process of putting the Confederate flag that flew on state house grounds in a relic museum.

“It’s a piece of our heritage. 25,000 South Carolinians died in defense of that flag, and 250,000 southerners,” said James Bessenger, chairman of the South Carolina Secessionist Party. “The legislature told us they were going to do it. If you say you’re going to do something, I expect you to do it.”

The NCAA lifted a boycott against South Carolina in 2015 after the Confederate flag was removed from state house grounds that summer.

During the boycott, the NCAA didn’t accept bids from any venue in the state to host tournaments until the flag was removed.

Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball released a statement to ESPN Sunday in reaction to the flag being flown in Greenville.

“The NCAA is proud and excited to host championships in the state of South Carolina once again. We are committed to assuring that our events are safe and accessible to all. No symbols that compromise that commitment will be permitted to be displayed on venue property that the tournament controls. Freedom of speech activities on public property in areas surrounding the arena are managed by the city of Greenville and we are supportive of the city’s efforts.”

“I think it’s very disheartening. I don’t ever want to give it voice and I believe in people protecting their heritage, but I believe in people coming together,” said Calvin Whitmire, a fan attending the basketball games. “We have enough gaps, so we want to try to bridge the gap with love.”

Greenville police Chief Ken Miller and several officers spoke with members of the party Sunday morning.

The chief had them move the flag away from the edge due to concerns that the large pole could break and cause injuries below.

“It doesn’t matter what our belief system is personally. What the law is, is pretty clear. My concern is a public safety perspective,” Miller said.

Miller said the group wasn’t breaking any laws by flying the flag. Officers said the group called and asked about a permit and were told they did not need to obtain one.

Miller said his priority is safety for everyone while the event is being held.

The Secessionist Party also flew several flags above parking garages in Charleston, which led to the city passing an ordinance prohibiting flags above certain buildings.

The following Facebook post below shows exactly where racist rednecks choose to fly the Confederate flag…

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