During the 2017 NCAA tournament over the weekend, some protesters were seen raising a Confederate flag on a pickup truck near the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina.
As Vocativ notes, "Members of the South Carolina Secessionist Party, a fringe political group that advocates for the restoration of the Confederate flag and, yes, calls on South Carolina to secede from the Union, staged a protest on Sunday morning."
Given the history involving the NCAA and South Carolina, the display was particularly noteworthy.
According to WLTX, "The NCAA lifted its ban against South Carolina holding tournaments and Championship games back in 2015, after the Confederate Flag was removed from the South Carolina Statehouse Grounds..."
After his team's victory over Duke on Sunday at the arena, University of South Carolina's coach Frank Martin was asked about his thoughts on the flag incident.
At the post-game press conference, Martin said, in part, "It's unfortunate, but it's America. And you think we all agree on everything? Our state is united. Our state believes in peace and harmony. That's why this event is being held in our state right now. Our state is progressive. Our state has incredible people that's about moving forward. But it's America...People have freedoms to do whatever they want to do with themselves and their property...There's things out there that I don't like but I can't force people to do what I want them to do."
The NCAA also released a statement, noting, "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."