Confederate flag raised next to NCAA Tournament venue in South Carolina

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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..."

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Confederate flag taken down in SC
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Confederate flag taken down in SC
COLUMBIA, SC - JULY 10: A crowd cheers after the Confederate 'Stars and Bars' flag was lowered from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds for the last time on July 10, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Republican Governor Nikki Haley presided over the event after signing historic legislation to remove the flag the day before. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JULY 10: A girl watches from a crowd to see the Confederate 'Stars and Bars' flag lowered from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds for the last time on July 10, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Republican Governor Nikki Haley presided over the event after signing historic legislation to remove the flag the day before. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JULY 10: A crowd celebrates after a South Carolina honor guard lowers the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds for the last time on July 10, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Republican Governor Nikki Haley presided over the event after signing the historic legislation to remove the flag the day before. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JULY 10: A crowd cheers as a South Carolina honor guard lowers the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds on July 10, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Republican Governor Nikki Haley presided over the event after signing the historic legislation to remove the flag the day before. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JULY 9: The Confederate battle flag flies on its last full day at the South Carolina state house July 9, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill removing the Confederate battle flag from the state house grounds on Thursday afternoon. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JULY 09: Confederate flag supporters stand outside the as 'Stars and Bars' flies in front of the South Carolina statehouse on its last evening on July 9, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds Friday morning. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JULY 09: People hold the American flag as the Confederate 'Stars and Bars' flies in front of the South Carolina statehouse on its last evening on July 9, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds Friday morning. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JULY 9: Supporters celebrate after South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signs a bill to remove the Confederate battle flag from the state house grounds July 9, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Debate on the flag was reignited three weeks ago after the mass murder at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JULY 9: State Reps. John King (L) and Cezar McKnight celebrate after the House approved a senate bill to remove the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina capitol grounds July 9, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Lawmakers debated for more than 13 hours before approving the bill early Thursday morning. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JULY 9: South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signs a bill to remove the Confederate battle flag from the state house grounds July 9, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Debate on the flag was reignited three weeks ago after the mass murder at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 30: Roger Rees attends the opening night of 'The Real Thing' on Broadway at American Airlines Theatre on October 30, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
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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."

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