Bubba Wallace found himself in the headlines after NASCAR announced they had found a noose inside of his garage at Talladega Superspeedway. That led to an FBI investigation that determined that Wallace, who is the only black driver at NASCAR’s highest level, was not the victim of a hate crime.
The FBI investigation discovered that the rope in question had been in the garage stall since last fall.
Once the FBI’s findings were released, there was a section of NASCAR fans and others who began mocking Wallace with Jussie Smollett jokes and calling it a “fake noose” story. Others said claimed Wallace set up the incident for publicity.
However, NASCAR has since released a photo of the rope that was in question and everyone with a critical eye can see why there was immediate action taken to determine whether it was meant as intimidation. Remember, the rope was discovered as NASCAR prepared for its first race since a Confederate flag ban and there were protesters outside of the track lining up with their flags, and a Confederate flag was even flown over the racetrack.
With such high tensions, NASCAR acted swiftly and wanted to ensure there was no malice or foul play.
And, for context, NASCAR President Steve Phelps says NASCAR conducted a “thorough sweep of all 29 tracks where they race, and 1684 garage stalls, they found only 11 total ropes that had a pulldown rope tied in a knot, and just one noose: The one in Bubba Wallace garage,” according to ESPN’s Marty Smith.
Here is the rope.
NASCAR releases photo to the media of the garage pull rope formed as a noose from the Bubba Wallace garage Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.
This image was provide by NASCAR. pic.twitter.com/Z4ZyBzpREF
— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) June 25, 2020
Now, I know some people have defended the rope as a standard garage door pull used to aid closing the door, but that is a noose. A noose is defined as “a loop with a running knot, tightening as the rope or wire is pulled.” So yes, a noose was in Bubba Wallace’s garage as NASCAR originally reported.
It should be obvious to see why those who discovered the rope may have been alarmed.
We should all be happy that NASCAR acted quickly on the matter and we should also be happy that there was no hate crime that occurred.