Bubba Wallace responded to the findings of the FBI regarding the noose that was found hanging in his garage this week, saying he was glad to learn the act was not directed at him, but “it was a noose. Whether tied in 2019 or whatever, it was a noose.”
What We Know:
- On Sunday, it was reported that a noose was found in Wallace’s garage. The FBI conducted an investigation of the incident and concluded on Tuesday, that this was not a hate crime directed at Wallace as the noose had been in the garage since the fall of 2019. The investigation also concluded that the item found was a garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose.
- Wallace responded to the findings, saying he accepted the findings that this wasn’t a hate crime directed at him, but the look of the rope didn’t sit well with Wallace, regardless of its function. “The image that I have, that I have seen, of what was hanging in my garage is not a garage loop,” he said on CNN. “I’ve been racing all of my life, we’ve raced out of hundreds of garages that have never had garage pulls like that.”
- “The photo evidence I’ve seen and have in my possession [shows] it was a garage pull that was a noose. I don’t know when we’ll get to the point that we’ll release that image … It’s alerting and it makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up,” he continued. “It was definitely in the shape of a noose. It wasn’t a functioning noose.”
- As one NASCAR official told ESPN.com on Tuesday night: “There are a lot of ways to tie a rope. This was unquestionably a noose. So, why?” It has been proved that the noose was there during a race weekend in October, so many have questioned why it was not noticed until now, eight months later.
- “I don’t know if it was like, ‘Hey, I’m gonna tie this as a noose, and see if anybody catches it,'” Wallace said on ESPN’s First Take. “I don’t know if they did it with hate in their heart or [if it was] a joke, but it ended up being a misunderstanding, some will say.”
- Throughout the investigation report, the FBI categorized the garage pull as a noose, saying that the rope had been turned into a noose although it wasn’t functioning. Wallace said the findings still don’t sit well with him because regardless of the function or the fact that it wasn’t directed at him in particular, someone still tied the noose up. “It was a noose,” Wallace said. “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’m saying.”
- During an interview on Wednesday, Wallace said, “I was relieved just like many others to know that it wasn’t targeted towards me. But it’s still frustrating to know that people are always going to test you and always going to try and debunk you and that’s what I’m trying to wrap around my head now.” He said that some people are now calling him “fake” and wrongly suggesting that he was the person who found and reported the noose, when in fact that was not the case. “I’m pissed,” Wallace said. “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.”
- “None of the allegations of [it] being a hoax will break me or tear me down,” Wallace said. “Will it piss me off? Absolutely. But that only fuels the competitive drive in me to shut everybody up—to get back out on the racetrack next week in Pocono and showcase what I can do behind the wheel under tremendous amounts of BS, whatever it is you want to say. It won’t break me; it won’t tear me down. Again, I will stand proud of where I’m at.”
- In a virtual teleconference, NASCAR President Steve Phelps said the noose had gone unnoticed as there had not been a race at the speedway since October. He also added that NASCAR will continue an internal investigation to find out who tied the rope into a noose and why they did it in the first place. “We appreciate the FBI’s quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba,” NASCAR added in a statement.
Wallace says the incident has reinforced his commitment to fighting for change and justice.”I’m the only Black driver in NASCAR, it’s easier for me to talk about these matters because I go through some racism throughout my life,” he continued. “I don’t have it as hard as other people, but I still go through it so I can witness it and be a part of it and speak on the matters and educate others. That’s the biggest thing is that we as a sport put our messaging out there is educating people, listening, and learning, helping people understand what other people are going through. Throughout all of this, it will solidify where I stand and stand proud.”