Bubba Wallace is seeing more backlash than ever after noose on garage pull was mistaken for hate crime; Adds comments following investigation
NASCAR was scheduled to race at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday. Rain postponed the event and forced the cars to the garage as they awaited Monday’s green flag.
When the crew returned, they noticed a noose on the garage pull rope. The team alerted NASCAR who then alerted the FBI.
We know now, that the noose was there as far back as 2019. The FBI closed the investigation as photos surfaced of the same noose tie being shown in garage No. 4 from 2019.
Before the FBI announced the results of their investigation, people were already calling it a hoax. Bubba Wallace went on The View and addressed that:
“It’s simple-minded people like that, the ones that are afraid of change, they use everything in their power to defend what they stand up for… instead of trying to listen and understand what’s going on,” Bubba Wallace stated.
The race went on come Monday. Bubba Wallace was moved to the front of the pit lane as every driver stood behind him during the National Anthem.
After the race at Talladega, the crowd chanted “Bubba” against the fence. He walked up to the fence to show a return of support and thanks. He felt happy, in what appeared to be the conclusion of a rollercoster ride in Alabama.
As stated, since then, the FBI investigation has been closed. They declared that no hate crime had been committed against Wallace.
Fans are still attempting to state that Wallace planned the entire thing. On social media, they are letting him hear about it. These fans draw up comparisons to actor Jesse Smolett who famously faked a hate crime in 2019.
After the investigation: Fans badger the NASCAR driver
Now, NASCAR’s only African-American driver is really under attack.
“I’m pissed. I’m mad because people are trying to test my character and the person that I am,” Bubba Wallace stated via CNN on Tuesday.
“They’re not stealing that away from me. But, they’re just trying to test that. As a person who doesn’t need the fame, hype or media, I could give two craps about that.”
“That’s my problem, I’m reading too much into it. After tonight, I’ll probably turn my phone off.”
Wallace thankful it wasn’t a hate crime
On Wednesday afternoon, the driver commented via social media.
“It’s been an emotional few days. First off, I want to say how relieved I am that the investigation revealed that this wasn’t what we feared it was.”
“I want to thank my team, NASCAR and the FBI for acting swiftly and treating this as a real threat. I think we’ll gladly take a little embarrassment over what the alternatives could have been.”
“Make no mistake, though some will try, this should not detract from the show of unity we had on Monday and the progress we’ve made as a sport to be more welcoming environment for all,” the social media statement concluded.
Timeline: Walking through the events
Weeks ago, NASCAR banned the Confederate flag from all racetracks and properties. This came are Wallace encouraged the sport to do so.
On Saturday, Sonoma Raceway discovered a noose hanging from a tree on the property of the race track. This act came after NASCAR banned the Confederate flag from all events and properties.
On Sunday afternoon, a plane flew over the Alabama speedway with a Confederate flag.
Around 7:30pm on Sunday, Bubba Wallace was informed of the situation at Talladega regarding a second noose found over his car in the garage.
“The race has been called. My crew is on a plane back to North Carolina. I’m in my motorhome and I get a phone call from President Steve Phelps,” Wallace said.
“It’s a phone call that I’ll never forget. It’s one of those calls you get when you can tell in the first couple seconds that something’s wrong.”
“It immediately made me think, ‘What did I do? What am I getting suspended for? What did I say wrong in an interview or whatever?’ I’m thinking all the bad things and whatever it could have been that I had done.”
Steve Phelps meets with Wallace
Phelps then requested that they spoke in person on Sunday night.
“He walks down to the motorhome, knocks on the door and the look that he had on his face alerted me in a way that I’ll never forget. I’m speaking for him, I’d say the conversation was one of the hardest things he’d ever had to tell somebody. Tears rolling down his face, choked up on every word he was trying to say.”
“The evidence he brought to me, that a hate crime was committed. I immediately thought my family was in danger. But, they way he communicated it, it shows the character that he has, how he’s representing the sport and how he wants to stand up for what’s right. He’s not going to tolerate any racist acts or anything.”
“I stand behind NASCAR. Like they said in their statements, if it happened again, they would do it all over again.”
“But, I never seen the noose. I never reported it.”
The team reached out to NASCAR directly. The President of NASCAR then reached out to Bubba Wallace. That pattern of events, would confirm that Bubba Wallace didn’t fabricate this on his own.
Was it a noose?
Then, there are people who declare that the rope wasn’t tied into a noose. However, NASCAR released the photo above on Thursday afternoon.
“The images that I’ve seen, it’s not a garage pull. I’ve been racing all my life, we’ve raced out of hundreds of garages that never had garage pulls like that,” Wallace added.
“People that want to call it a garage pull and put out little videos of knots as their evidence, go ahead. But, from the evidence that I have, it’s a straight up noose. The FBI has stated it was a noose, over and over again.”
“I have evidence of what was hanging in my garage, over my car, to confirm it was a noose. Never seen anything like it.”
“I talked to my crew chief about it and wanted to make sure we weren’t jumping the gun. It was a noose, whether tied in 2019 or whatever. It wasn’t directed at me but somebody tied a noose.”
Bubba Wallace is now feeling more hate than ever
Following the announcement by NASCAR and the FBI that it wasn’t a noose, Bubba Wallace has been re-attacked on social media. The hate is being directed at a driver who openly admitted to a battle with depression back in May 2019.
Fans continue to say Wallace created the hoax. Or they say he purposefully race baited. The tweets I’ve seen are limitless.
“This will not break me,” Wallace stated “The allegations of it being a hoax won’t break me or tear me down. Will it piss me off? Absolutely. But, that only fuels the competitive drive in me to shut everybody up.”
“The backlash will always be there. It doesn’t matter if we provide 100% facts and evidence. People are going to photoshop it to make me look like the bad person. At the end of the day, I will always have haters.”
NASCAR had Talladega on their Radar
NASCAR may have jumped the gun. But, they errored on the side of caution, to protect one of their drivers. There’s really nothing wrong with that.
The fact that it was on the garage door rope, likely should have toned down the reactions. Loops of all kinds are common in garages, everywhere.
But, a plane also flew over Talladega Superspeedway earlier that day while pulling a Confederate flag with the message “Defund NASCAR”. And at the same time, people gathered near the property of the race track, deep in Confederate flags.
“NASCAR was worried about Talladega. Being there and knowing we were allowing fans back. Some of the most passionate fans are down there. Talladega is one of the best race tracks to go to just because of the atmosphere,” Wallace commented.
“But, we had that one circled on the radar with everything going around. Lets just be extra careful. That definitely intensified everything that went on.”
“Unfortunate, that everything played out the way it did,” Wallace concluded.