A Fake Noose: Investigation Reveals Perceived Hate Crime against Black NASCAR Driver to be a Red Herring

Written By Neil McKenzie-Sutter, Posted on June 25, 2020

Concern arose late last week when NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s driving team discovered a knotted rope in Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway. Appearing to be a noose, it was quickly seized upon as a seemingly veiled racist threat against Wallace, who is both black and an outspoken activist for social justice on and off the racetrack, including his recent role in pressuring NASCAR to ban Confederate flags at all racing events two weeks earlier in June. NASCAR quickly condemned the apparent incident, affirming that they would be consulting with law enforcement. “As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR,” the organization reported, “and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all.”

Wallace also took to Twitter in response to the apparent racist symbol. “Today’s despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism. Over the last several weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the support from people across the NASCAR industry, including other drivers and team members in the garage. Together, our sport has made a commitment to driving real change and championing a community that is accepting and welcoming of everyone.”

However, an FBI investigation has since revealed that there was no hate crime or threat involved in the hanging of the noose/rope in that particular garage, as the rope had been hung there as early as last fall and was being used as a makeshift door pull.

Wallace and his team only took possession of the garage late last week and had been given that garage at random. It has therefore been determined that it was impossible for the ‘noose’ to have been a threat against Wallace. 

Although Wallace was relieved to discover the rope was not part of a hate crime, he has described his frustration with those who have condemned the investigation as an ‘overreaction’ in light of recent racial tensions in the United States. “I was relieved just like many others to know that it wasn’t targeted towards me,” Wallace reported on NBC’s Today. “But it’s still frustrating to know that people are always going to test you and always just going to try and debunk you and that’s what I’m trying to wrap my head around now, from people saying I’m a fake or that I reported it when it was information that was brought to me.”

Neil McKenzie-Sutter

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