NASCAR released a picture showing the noose that was hanging in the garage of Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s only black driver, at Talladega Superspeedway. The noose sparked an FBI investigation as Wallace and members of his team believed it was a hate crime.
The FBI investigation determined that the noose had been in that garage since the fall of 2019, and wasn’t an act of hate directed toward Wallace.
The incident came during a time of intense racial unrest in the United States, and in NASCAR. NASCAR had recently banned the Confederate flag from being flown at races, at Wallace’s urging.
Wallace was an active participant in social justice protesting in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, having worn a Black Lives Matter T-shirt to a race and driven a car featuring a Black Lives Matter paint scheme.
When the noose was discovered in his garage, NASCAR immediately issued a statement condemning the alleged hate crime and supporting Wallace. In a dramatic show of support for Wallace, the other drivers pushed Wallace’s car to the front of the field before Monday’s race at Talladega.
Wallace was moved to tears by the show of support, which went viral and gained national attention that far exceeded NASCAR’s normal reach.
The day after the race, the FBI released its findings that no hate crime had been committed. Still, Wallace went on CNN with Don Lemon and expressed his anger over those who didn’t believe him.
Bubba Wallace responds after FBI hate crime investigation
On Wednesday, Wallace seemed ready to accept that he was not the victim of a hate crime, and acknowledged the embarrassing nature of the situation.
“It’s been an emotional few days,” Wallace wrote on Twitter. “First off, I want to say how relieved I am that the investigation revealed that this wasn’t what we feared it was. I want to thank my team, NASCAR, and the FBI for acting swiftly and treating this as a real threat. I think we’ll gladly take a little embarrassment over what the alternatives could have been.”