Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze: Change Mississippi's state flag

0:54 | College Football
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze: Change Mississippi's state flag
Thursday July 16th, 2015

Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze “strongly believes” the Mississippi state flag should be changed, he said on Thursday at SEC Media Days. 

The Mississippi flag bears the image of the Confederate battle flag in its top left corner, and is the only state flag that currently displays the rebel symbol.

Debate over the Confederate flag was reignited after the June 17 mass shooting at a Charleseton, S.C., traditionally black church, where nine African-Americans were murdered by Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white male. Roof embraced the Confederate flag as part of his openly white supremacist ideology. 

Last week, South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from its statehouse grounds. Other public figures and institutions, including NASCAR, have also spoken out against the flag.

• NEWMAN: NASCAR must decide where it stands on Confederate flag issue

"Being a Mississippian I have a great appreciation for the Mississippi people and the pride we have in the heritage," Freeze said, according to The Clarion-Ledger. "Unfortunately that symbol has been hijacked by some groups that mean ill-will towards some people.

"While I'm not a political figure I strongly believe it is time we move in a different direction and change the flag. Hopefully that'll happen."

At least four coaches have been asked their position on the flag debate during SEC Media Days this week, including Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, who did not explicitly take a stance.

Freeze was also asked if Ole Miss' nickname–the Rebels–should be changed. He responded that if it was "troublesome" to people it should be addressed, but that he had not heard any negative feedback, according to Sports Illustrated's Zac Ellis.

Freeze led Ole Miss to a 9-4 record in 2014, finishing third in the SEC West.

• Cam Newton: South Carolina lowering Confederate flag a 'triumph'

- Erin Flynn

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.