The Associated Press file photo / In this Oct. 7, 2007 photo, a Confederate flag flies in the infield as cars roar by during a NASCAR auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala. NASCAR is banning confederate flags at its races in the aftermath of protests over the death of George Floyd under the knee of a police officer in Minneapolis.

We've all heard the saying, paraphrased here for a family newspaper: The hot place down below "will freeze over" before ... before something or other happens.

Well, get on Amazon and order some ice skates.

* First, it was hordes of white, red and yellow people showing up with the black people here and around the country to protest inequality and injustice after cell-phone video went viral of a Minneapolis police officer suffocating a black man by holding his knee on the man's neck for nearly nine minutes — the officer looking cruelly nonchalant all the while with his hands in his pockets even as the man cried that he couldn't breathe.

* Then it was NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, apologizing for not listening to players when they raised concerns about inequality and especially police brutality. "It has been a difficult time in our country. In particular, black people in our country," Goodell said.

Colin Kaepernick is his name, Roger. And if you're sincere you'll make sure he gets his job back — and back pay — after you put your hands in your pockets as he was blacklisted for kneeling and putting his hand over his heart when the national anthem was played before football games.

* Then it was a handful of city and state officials around the country who began quietly removing Confederate statues from public squares and spaces.

(Don't hold your breath around here while the ice skates are on the way. Our county and state officials aren't even brave enough to tell us the truth about COVID-19 cases. Here it is nearly the middle of June, and after cases have spiked steadily — from 163 at the first of May when we "reopened" to 1,083 at the end of May — those officials just Monday added to the blame list: "businesses that have been open, businesses that are reopening [and] employees bringing the virus to newly opened sites.")

* But the real polar vortex took hold in Hades on Tuesday, when NASCAR shook the South to its knees by banning Confederate flags at its events.

NASCAR. Banned. Confederate. Flags.

Racing officials heeded an impassioned request from its only black driver in the top circuit, Bubba Wallace, who said, "No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race."

It's the right thing to do. Removing the statues is the right thing, too. And apologies are long overdue.

Maybe we should order some ice fishing equipment, too.

Seriously, NASCAR fans are a rowdy bunch. And Sunday will offer an interesting show of how racing officials enforce the Confederate flag ban as fans will be allowed back for the first time since COVID-19 came to live with us. Those rowdy fans — mostly Southerners — will be setting up their RVs at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Next week likely will be even more challenging. It's the Talladega 500 at Alabama's Talladega Superspeedway in the "Heart of Dixie."

"That will certainly be a challenge. We'll try to do that [enforce the ban] the right way," NASCAR Executive Vice President Steve O'Donnell told SiriusXM on Thursday. "We'll get ahead of it as we are today in letting people know that, 'Hey, we're all about pride, we're all about America, fly your U.S. flag high, fly your drivers' flags high and come on into the track.' But if we see something displayed at the track, we're going to have react and we will. More details to come, but I'm confident we'll do that and we'll do that in a smart way."

We hope so. But when you get the ice skates, be sure to keep your receipt.