LeBron James bid adieu to part-time Truck Series driver Ray Ciccarelli after he quit following NASCAR banning the use of the confederate flag at all events and properties.
James reposted a photo of Ciccarelli in an Instagram story, covered his face with a clown sticker, and wrote, "Bye Bye!! I can probably say they won't miss you."
Ciccarelli, who had just one top-10 finish in 18 races over his career, announced on Facebook on Wednesday that he was quitting in a post that has since been deleted.
"Well it’s been a fun ride and dream come true but if that is the direction NASCAR is headed we will not participate after the 2020 season is over," Ciccarelli wrote.
"I don’t believe in kneeling during anthem nor taken [sic] ppl right to fly what ever flag they love. I could care less about the Confederate Flag but there are ppl that do and it doesn’t make them a racist all you are doing is f------ one group to cater to another and I ain’t spend the money we are to participate in any political BS!! So everything is for SALE!!"
Last week, NASCAR ended its policy requiring team members to stand and face the American flag with their right hand on their heart during the national anthem. And before Sunday's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR president Steve Phelps spoke out against racial inequality, saying, "Our sport must do better."
Bubba Wallace, the only full-time black driver in the Cup Series, then called for the removal of the confederate flag in an appearance on CNN on Monday. Two days later, NASCAR said in a statement the confederate flag would be prohibited, adding, “The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry."
Wallace raced in a car Wednesday that was painted black and had the words "#blacklivesmatter" written on it as well as "compassion, love, understanding" accompanied by white and black hands embracing.
He also wore a shirt that said "I Can't Breathe," the words George Floyd said multiple times before he died as white police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for over eight minutes in Minneapolis on May 25.
James praised Wallace, tweeting Wednesday, "BIG S/O @BubbaWallace!!."
Wallace responded to James, tweeting a video of the three-time NBA champion flexing and writing, "Let’s get it homie. Appreciate you! Respect!"