Pickup Truck Protesters Flying Confederate Flag Outside NCAA Tournament

March Madness returns to Greenville

The team's coach Frank Martin urged people not to judge all in SC by the actions of some.

The sight of the flag flying so prominently near the arena caught many people by surprise.

NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt quickly issued a statement about the presence of the flags. While it flew, the NCAA banned its championships from taking place on SC soil. We are committed to assure that our events are safe and accessible to all.

The statement continues: "No symbols that compromise that commitment will be permitted to be displayed on venue property that the tournament controls". Other areas are under the city's jurisdiction, and the NCAA backed the city's efforts to manage actions concerning freedom of speech.

A small group of protesters marred the return of the NCAA men's basketball tournament to the state of SC.

But the Secessionist Party is now pushing state lawmakers to place that flag in a museum.

Video posted on Twitter on Sunday by Sports Illustrated writer Jonathan Jones showed several trucks driving on a road and waving flags.

The group arrived Sunday morning, raising the flag from the back of a pickup truck.

Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller, speaking to WYFF, said that no laws were being broken and that the protesters reached out to see if they needed a permit to protest before hitting the streets.

This regional has dealt with politically charged events the past six months.

The NCAA has had a contentious relationship with both North and SC in recent years. Last year, the NCAA banned championship games from North Carolina due to the anti-transgender HB2 legislation, and then moved some March Madness games from Greensboro to Greenville. That's why this event is being held in our state right now.

In July 2015, the NCAA lifted its ban on hosting championship events in the state of SC after state lawmakers voted to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse and Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill to officially bring it down.

Normally, it would have taken some time for SC to get added back into the hosting rotation, due to how far in advance tournaments and championships are scheduled - but luckily for them, another state stepped in to show its bigotry.

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