Bubba Wallace “Pissed Off” About NASCAR Noose Controversy

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[Bubba Wallace\NASCAR]
Wallace: "The picture I got from what they had eventually cut down and turned it into the FBI, it was simply in fact a noose. ... The FBI backed that up 100 percent."
Photo: Twitter

Released picture of NASCAR noose found in Bubba Wallace's stall.

Bubba Wallace is, in his own words, "pissed off."

And he should be.

The 26-year-old NASCAR Cup Series driver in a Tuesday night CNN interview admitted he was spending too much time on social media, where strangers were blaming him for what was a misunderstanding on the part of his own Richard Petty Motorsports race team and NASCAR.

Wallace's anger is not directed at those who reported and escalated the presence of a noose in his Talladega Superspeedway garage stall Sunday, an incident both the FBI and NASCAR investigated and determined that no hate crime was committed against the sport's only Black driver. The noose, formed at the bottom of a pull rope attached to the garage door, had been in place since as early as last fall, the FBI said.

Instead, Wallace's anger is directed at those who are attacking his character.

"You get backlash every day," Wallace said on CNN hours after the FBI and NASCAR announced the findings of their investigation. "I'm used to it. It stings a little bit worse when they're trying to test your character ... and try to take something away from me that's false.

"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."

That chat with Don Lemon on CNN was the first in what would become a chain of nationally broadcast interviews Wallace gave through Wednesday. Despite the driver's repetition of the facts that explain why and how he was dragged into a hate crime-related controversy that was not what it appeared to be, many are still calling the incident a hoax and assigning blame to Wallace.

Below are some of the messages of pushback Wallace is receiving, and why they are so dangerously misguided.

"The noose in Bubba Wallace's garage was a hoax."

As the FBI and NASCAR confirmed in their statements Tuesday, a noose was in fact discovered in Wallace's Talladega garage stall Sunday ahead of the weather-postponed Geico 500.

From NASCAR: "The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime. 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. This was obviously well before the 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment."

From the FBI: "On Monday, fifteen FBI special agents conducted numerous interviews regarding the situation at Talladega Superspeedway. After a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding this event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed. The FBI 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."

Wallace on Wednesday's episode of the "Dan Patrick Show" said an African-American crew member on his No. 43 team was the one who discovered the noose. Soon after, the crew member reported the noose to crew chief Jerry Baxter, who informed NASCAR.

“The last race we had had there in October, that noose was present, and the fact that it was not found until a member of the 43 team came there is something that is a fact,” NASCAR President Steve Phelps said during a conference call with media Tuesday. “We had not been back to the garage. It was a quick one‑day show.

“The crew member went back in there. He looked and saw the noose, brought it to the attention of his crew chief, who then went to the NASCAR series director Jay Fabian, and we launched this investigation.”

NASCAR noted Tuesday that the No. 43 team "had nothing to do with" the noose prior to its discovery."

(The crew member) was kind of outraged at how things were I guess concluded," Wallace said. "He says, 100 percent, if he had seen it again, he would do it all over again and not hold back. He says in our section of the garage there were about 10 stalls. He said before he even said anything to our crew chief to report it, he walked up and down the garages to see if this was the same thing.

"He said that every other garage pull had no knot. Just a single piece of rope. And the picture I got from what they had eventually cut down and turned it into the FBI, it was simply in fact a noose. ... The FBI backed that up 100 percent."

For the rest of this Sporting News story, log on to: https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nascar/news/bubba-wallace-noose-hoax-nas...

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