Fans will no longer be allowed to bring confederate flags to any NASCAR events, effective immediately.

Although the sport banned the use of the flag on any race vehicles or official merchandise in 2015, the new rule will ban anyone from waving the flag at its events.

The decision follows calls from Bubba Watson, the Cup Series' only Black driver, to ban the flag. It also comes amid nationwide protests decrying systemic racism in the US.

The confederate flag was adopted by the Dixiecrats who championed the use of the legal system to oppress Black citizens in the middle of the last century. Before that, the flag was used by General Robert E. Lee who fought for slavery and abducted free Black farmers selling them into slavery.

The flag has also been used as a sign of so-called southern pride, itself a propaganda mission set up by former confederates and their descendants to rewrite the history of the confederacy and frame it as a noble cause and excuse the racist tyranny that would be wrought by the Dixiecrats.

"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," NASCAR said in a statement. "Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties."

How exactly this rule will be enforced has not been laid out. It has so far not been a problem this year, without any fans at its races, but the sport plans to invite fans to some events this year, so a plan will have to be developed.

When the sport banned the flag on official merchandise in 2015, NASCAR offered fans free American flags in exchange for Confederate flags.