Commentary: Time for South Carolina to pull down Confederate flag

The demise of the NAACP boycott has been greatly exaggerated.

Just ask the Atlantic Coast Conference, which decided against bringing its baseball tournament — and an estimated 75,000 people — to Myrtle Beach just weeks after announcing the event would be held here from 2011 to 2013.

This comes a few years after a local group tried to bring a college football bowl game to Coastal Carolina University's field. They were told it was a nonstarter because of the boycott initiated by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to remove the flag from the Statehouse, whose grounds are already a virtual shrine to the Confederacy.

The 9-year-old boycott was thought to have gone the way of 99-cent gas because only the publicly canceled events have been tallied, and they amount to only millions of dollars lost in a multibillion-dollar industry. But that's like counting only the dollars directly spent for the presidential debates held here while ignoring the immeasurable amount of free advertising and positive national headlines.

Many are irate with the NAACP, wondering why it's inflicting economic damage in a downturn. I get that.

But the issue isn't about heritage versus hate. The Confederate flag will always symbolize both. It's not even about the NAACP. That private organization has made removing the flag a priority. The more pertinent question: Why have legislators made a priority of making sure it remains?

To read the complete column, visit www.thesunnews.com.