NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace is adamant that the door pull rope found in the garage he was assigned at Talladega Speedway in Alabama was a “noose.”
A rope tied into a loop was found Sunday in the garage assigned to Wallace, NASCAR’s only full-time black driver. Wallace has been outspoken about ridding his sport of the Confederate flag and has publicly voiced his support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Because nooses are regarded as a symbol of lynchings used to threaten black Americans, the FBI was called in to investigate the discovery.
On Tuesday, the FBI announced that it “learned that garage number 4, where the noose was found, was assigned to Bubba Wallace last week. The investigation also revealed evidence, including authentic video confirmed by NASCAR, that the noose found in garage number 4 was in that garage as early as October 2019.
“Although the noose is now known to have been in garage number 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week.”
NASCAR then issued its own statement.
“The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime,” NASCAR said. “The FBI report concludes, and photographic evidence confirms, that the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall.”
Later Tuesday, Wallace spoke about the events in an interview with Don Lemon of CNN.
“I’m p—ed. I’m mad because people are trying to test my character and the person that I am and my integrity. And they’re not stealing that away from me, but they’re just trying to test that,” he said.
During the interview, Lemon asked Wallace if he had ever seen a rope like that used to pull an overhead garage door closed.
“Don, the image that I have and I have seen of what was hanging in my garage is not a garage pull,” Wallace said.
“I’ve been racing all my life. We’ve raced out of hundreds of garages that never had garage pulls like that. So people that want to call it a garage pull and put out old videos and photos of knots as their evidence, go ahead, but from the evidence that we have, that I have, it’s a straight-up noose,” he said.
Wallace said the FBI agreed with him.
“The FBI has stated it was a noose over and over again. NASCAR leadership has stated that it was a noose. I can confirm that I actually got evidence of what was hanging in my garage, over my car, around my pit crew guys, to confirm that it was a noose, and never seen anything like that,” he said.
Wallace said he asked about the rope before jumping to conclusions.
“I talked to my crew chief about it, I said, ‘Is this something like …’ I wanted to make sure we weren’t jumping the gun and I said, ‘This isn’t a knot. This isn’t just a regular old what do you call it.’ He’s like, ‘Bubba, this isn’t something that can be done within a second of just tying a knot and being on the way. This is something that took time,'” he said.
Lemon asked for Wallace to clarify his comments.
“It was a noose,” he said. “It was a noose that was whether tied in 2019 or whatever, it was a noose, so it wasn’t directed at me but somebody tied a noose.
“That’s what I am saying. It is a noose.”
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) June 24, 2020
Wallace said he is glad NASCAR supported him and is not worried about what those who dislike him will say or write.
“I get backlash every day. I think we talked about that, whatever, I’m used to it, but it stings a little bit worse when they’re trying to test your character, like I said earlier, and try to take something away from me that’s false,” he said.
“But the backlash will always be there. It doesn’t matter if we provide 100 percent facts and evidence, photo 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. I will always have the motivators to go out there and to try to dethrone me from the pedestal that I am on.”
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