Guitarist Gary Rossington says Lynyrd Skynyrd is NOT abandoning the Confederate flag, despite a CNN report that said they were.  (Gary is the last surviving original member of the band.)

This started in a recent interview with CNN, when Gary said, quote, "Through the years, people like the KKK and skinheads kinda kidnapped the Dixie or Rebel flag from the Southern tradition and the heritage of the soldiers . . . that's what it was about.

"We didn't want that to go to our fans or show the image like we agreed with any of the race stuff or any of the bad things."

That led to talk that Lynyrd Skynyrd planned to STOP using the flag completely . . . but apparently, that's not what he meant.

Gary "clarified" his comments in a post on the band's website.  He said quote, "Myself, the past members and the present members (that are from the South), are all extremely proud of our heritage and being from the South . . .

"We still utilize the Confederate flag on stage every night in our shows, we are and always will be a Southern American Rock band, first and foremost.

"I only stated my opinion that the confederate flag, at times, was unfairly being used as a symbol by various hate groups, which is something that we don't support the flag being used for.  [It] means something more to us, Heritage not Hate."

You can read the full statement at  And here's video of their interview with CNN.  You can skip ahead to the 3:04 mark.

It should be noted that the band didn't correct the interviewer when she said they'd "lost" the Confederate flag.  And they didn't mention anything about still using the flag at their shows.

Perhaps, they just meant that they were using the Confederate flag LESS . . . because they didn't want to be too closely associated with what it now represents to some people.