by Julian Spivey
The FBI investigation of the noose found in NASCAR driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr.’s garage stall on Sunday morning at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala. revealed on Tuesday (June 23) that the entire thing was essentially a big coincidence and misunderstanding as photographic evidence shows that the noose was actually a garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose that had been in that garage stall since at least October of last year the last time NASCAR traveled to Talladega.
NASCAR said in its statement on Tuesday: “This was obviously well before the 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment.”
While the realization that the noose was in fact a garage pull rope tied to resemble a noose is good news in that it means it wasn’t an intentional racist act perpetrated by someone either within the sport or employed by the track it’s also a bit of an embarrassment for NASCAR in that so much had been made since the sport went public with the story on Sunday night about it being a heinous, racist act.
I can’t help but feel incredibly bad for Wallace right now because he’s catching so much flack from ignorant individuals on social media, many of whom are tagging him directly, claiming that the entire thing was a hoax, instead of the unfortunate coincidence and misunderstanding it is. So many folks were talking about the event being a hoax and likening Wallace to actor Jussie Smollett, who was caught staging a hate crime assault against himself last year, in the hours after NASCAR’s statement that Wallace’s name was trending on Twitter with the unfortunate hashtag #BubbaSmollett.
These individuals are merely pissed at the fact that a black man, the only full-time black driver in NASCAR, had the guts to speak out against things like police brutality, the confederate flag at racetracks and other racial issues and are taking this misunderstanding as a moment to push back at him despite the fact that it has been reported multiple times by NASCAR and media outlets that the supposed noose was found by a member of the 43 team before Wallace stepped foot in the garage area on Sunday and he never saw it in the garage and the fact that it’s been there since at least last October, meaning that not only did he not have anything to do with it, but neither did anyone on his race team. But, let’s face it, facts aren’t exactly the friend of these individuals trying to push their bullshit on Wallace and NASCAR.
Even with Tuesday’s announcement that the noose wasn’t intended as a noose a lot of good came out of the controversy on Monday when the GEICO 500 was run at Talladega after being rained out on Sunday and the sport and its drivers and other members thought it was real and decided to stand with one of their own by pushing Wallace’s 43 Chevrolet to the front of the grid on pit road with every one of the other 39 drivers in the field in tow and much of their pit crews following in unison. It was a beautiful sight from the sport to show that they wouldn’t bow down to racism and they had Wallace’s back.
The realization that the noose wasn’t planted by a racist as a threat toward Wallace and what he means to the growth of the sport doesn’t do a damn thing to change anything that happened on the track before the race on Monday. This sport is with Bubba Wallace and if that bothers you than move along. NASCAR doesn’t need you.