Via his Twitter feed, Watson made this statement:
“All men ARE created equal, I believe that so I will be painting the American flag over the roof of the General Lee #USA”
The two-time Masters champion had purchased the car, a 1969 Dodge Charger, in 2012 for $110,000. As recently as January, Watson displayed the car at the Arizona auction house where he had purchased it, having the vehicle autographed by John “Bo Duke” Schneider.
Of course, many cars were used in the course of the show’s history, from 1979 to 1985, but few survived the chases and jumps involved. The car Watson purchased was used in the very first episode, appearing in the show’s intro soaring over a police car, and it reportedly had been restored after being damaged in the stunt.
Watson is just the latest to disavow associations with the symbol of the Confederacy. Earlier on Thursday, owners of 30 tracks that host NASCAR events issued a joint statement asking fans not to display the flag at their facilities.
In Feb. 2012, Watson was set to drive the General Lee as the pace car in a Sprint Cup event at Phoenix International Raceway, until NASCAR officials “decided it was not in the best interest of our sport.”