The NCAA Sunday condemned a group of protesters who flew a Confederate flag outside a parking garage adjacent to the arena where two men’s basketball games were being held in Greenville, South Carolina.
The NCAA said it would not tolerate any symbols that violate the organization’s commitment to providing a “safe and accessible” venue for all, noting it had no control over what was happening in the area surrounding Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
The protesters displayed their flag from the back of a pickup truck at a parking garage next to the arena, which is hosting vs. South Carolina and North Carolina vs. Arkansas, the Associated Press reported.
Sunday’s protest followed a convention Friday in Rock Hill, South Carolina, for the Sons of Confederate Veterans at York Technical College. The convention drew about three dozen protesters from the NAACP, who said they were not protesting the organization but rather the Confederate flag it uses as its symbol, the Rock Hill Herald reported.
“Our message is combating their message,” said Dorene Boular, president of the Rock Hill NAACP. “For us, this is about standing together in unity, black and white. From this, we grow stronger, and work for the same purposes.”
The NCAA lifted its ban on holding championship games in South Carolina after the governor signed a bill ending the display of the Confederate flag at the Statehouse. At the time, the NCAA lauded lawmakers for acting.
South Carolina won this weekend’s Greenville Regional after the NCAA decided to pull all tournament games out of North Carolina as a result of that state’s so-called bathroom bill, which requires transgender individuals to use the public restroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificates. It’s the first time Greenville has played host since 2002.
South Carolina had been banned by the NCAA since 2004 because of the Confederate flag’s presence on the Statehouse grounds in Columbia. The flag came down just weeks after self-described white supremacist Dylan Roof fatally shot nine black people attending a Bible study class at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.