Ole Miss player delivers message to fans with Confederate flags

C.J. Johnson of the Ole Miss Rebels has a low opinion of fans who have Confederate flags around campus.
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

It’s a subject that has been controversial for decades: What does the Confederate flag stand for and should it even still be around at public places? The conversation has taken center stage following the shooting deaths of nine black people inside a South Carolina church this past June.

Those who support the flag say it isn’t about racism but about honoring “Southern heritage,” while those against it see the flag as a continuing symbol of slavery, one of the factors that led the Confederate states to secede from the United States.

ESPN recently asked 13 different people involved with college football their thoughts on race and sports. One of the people, Ole Miss linebacker C.J. Johnson, wasn’t shy about what he feels when he sees the flag flown around campus:

“It sickens me when I see (a Confederate flag) on people’s cars on campus. If you have the Confederate flag on your vehicle, you have a problem. And I don’t care if it’s socially what you believe in or it’s morally what you believe in or you’re just doing it for s—s and giggles. It’s just the fact of what it stands for. It’s almost like you might as well put a tag on the front of your car that says ‘n—–.’ That’s really what it boils down to. You might as well just put a big tag on the front of your car or hang a big flag on the back of your car and just say the N-word.”

For those who want to argue that the battle flag and the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery, here’s the first paragraph of Mississippi’s declaration of secession from the Union:

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.

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