Discussion: Tom Petty On Confederate Flag Use: ‘It Was Downright Stupid’

Discussion for article #238434

Well, Tom, at least you made the decision a long time ago to do what was right and that counts for a lot.


"The way we’re losing black men and citizens in general is horrific,” he said. “What’s going on in society is unforgivable. As a country, we should be more concerned with why the police are getting away with targeting black men and killing them for no reason. That’s a bigger issue than the flag.”

And this, Tom Petty, is why you’re one of my favorite artists of all time. Well, that and the incredible music.


Tom Petty puts on a hell of a show (or did at least 18 years ago when I saw him play Fresno). I had no idea they were ever associated with the confederate flag. He’d clearly put it behind him a long time ago.


Indeed. And “Southern Accents” (the song from the same album) is actually a terrific song about the song…brings out a lot of the paradoxes, the ugly and the beautiful, of being in the South.

On a side note, the song “American Girl” is also about Gainesville, or more specifically, about a girl he was dating that attended school at UF and jumped off Beatty Towers (dorms) and killed herself “Yeah she could hear the cars roll by out on 441, just like wave crashing on the beach” 441 is one of the main drags (13th street) running by the campus.

Though I personally was a little mad that he didn’t bring the Southern Accents tour to Gainesville, and instead went to Tallahassee. I got over it though, having seen him twice. Excellent showman.


Obviously Petty has given no thought to how this gets him stricken from Rush Limbaugh’s Christmas card list.


Back in 1985, fresh out of college, I was working in a record store (remember them?) and Southern Accents was in heavy rotation on the store’s turntable. Kinda funky album, especially the tracks produced by Eurythmics Dave Stewart. Gonna go back and listen to it again.


always wondered about that at the time, what was he thinking?..in some regard I thought it was an answer to Born in the USA…that whole time had American-centric music coming out, Mellencamp with his Pink Houses too…Heartland Rock it was called…remember Bob Dylan saying he didn’t know why that was a dominant presence then, didn’t like that approach

Mistake, admitted mistake and corrected mistake. That is the right thing to do for a wrongful action.
I’m no Tom Petty fan but he is a rock icon in his own right. If he leads his followers like this, then he is using his fame for good.

And, Heartbreakers really? That’s rather self ingratiating, these dudes were no where near as good looking as Bob Dylan/////////


That’s the thing, for a lot of people the flag represented “the South”, they never really associated it with slavery, etc. Call it ignorance or lack of education, but in many cases it had nothing to do with being racist. Hell, as a kid we had game called Battle Cry and played it a lot. One kid was the South, one was the North. I just saw cool uniforms, flags and soldiers. We were not thinking in the context of the Civil War. And for a lot of people the Southern Flag represented Southern Pride only, they just never thought it out. Does not make them bad people. And as people learn more about the issue many are saying “geez, never thought of it that way”. And good for them, that’s called engaging people to get them to do the right thing. Tom Petty is obviously not stupid, he was just not fully thinking of the significance (nor was I as a kid and even as a teen).

Now, there is still a significant block of people who love the flag due to being racist, yes. But with this being brought to the forefront, we can now identify them more clearly.

I see no indication whatsoever of Tom Petty ever being racist, to him it was just “hey, I’m a Southerner”. Hell, I’m from NYC, but I love lots of Southerners. And there are plenty of “Yankees” I can’t stand…including a lot of their fans (baseball twist)…


Wait, did Tom Petty just back down?


Guess he didn’t mean that either?


I’ve always liked Tom’s music, now this makes me like and respect him even more, Don’t Back down !

1 Like

Nah, he didn’t back down!

As a country, we should be more concerned with why the police are getting away with targeting black men and killing them for no reason.

If you go to a comment section like Yahoo’s, that unfortunate answer stares you in the eye. Commentators (or their bots) see bad cops as supposed heroes and unarmed black men as animals. Now it doesn’t help that these people are clueless to the idea that their loved ones could be next.


it’s ‘dude deserved it/that ‘i’ word/obey the law’.

From what I’m told, he won’t back down. No, he won’t back down. You can stand him up at the gates of hell, but he won’t back down.


But he might change course of his own volition.


Yep, good example here. We all soak up the crap around us when we’re young no matter how stupid it may be. But once your brain starts functioning, and you are able to understand what all that stuff means, you get to decide for yourself what you will keep, and what you will discard. Once he saw it outside the “wallpaper” context for what it means, it was off to the trash bin.


Maybe just a ‘Breakdown’?

1 Like

But he’s a good boy and he’s crazy about Elvis…