Stop blaming Bubba Wallace.
He is not at fault.
He didn’t ask for the attention. He had nothing to do with the events that happened at Talladega Superspeedway over the last 72 hours. It was his team and NASCAR that ran with the story. He never saw the alleged noose.
Wallace handled everything with class and dignity. In the next several days and perhaps beyond, he will receive uncalled for hate and blame.
But he’s the only person who isn’t at fault.
Late Sunday night, seven hours after the GEICO 500 was postponed due to inclement weather NASCAR released the following statement:
“Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team. We are angry and outraged and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act. We have launched an immediate investigation and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport. As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming for all.”
NASCAR released the statement and then jumped on a call with reporters. Later that night, the news broke on Scott Van Pelt’s late-night SportsCenter episode.
Wallace is not to blame.
Initially, the Talladega Sheriff’s office investigated, but the case was eventually passed over to the FBI. After investigating, it was announced that there was no hate crime. The noose was a rope used to manually pull open an overhead garage door, tied as a small noose and had been there since Oct. 2019.
But why was it tied in a noose, to begin with? How can members of Wallace’s crew and members of NASCAR and the racetrack get so easily confused? Was it just a misunderstanding, or is there more to the story than what we are told?
NASCAR acted quickly. They stood with Wallace. But, they moved too fast, not correctly investigating before making the news public that Wallace was the victim of a hate crime.
It’s not Bubba’s fault.
He didn’t report the noose. He had no knowledge of it. With the events that have taken place in America over the last several months, Wallace believed it. He has every right to as NASCAR’s only black driver.
Wallace was the driving voice behind NASCAR’s decision to ban the confederate flag from the sport. He wore a shirt featuring the words “I can’t breathe” and had “Black Lives Matter” painted on his car.
And yet Sunday afternoon, someone flew the Confederate flag with the words “DEFUND NASCAR” on a plane over the racetrack.
“I’m pissed. I’m mad because people are trying to test my character, the person I am and my integrity. They’re not stealing that away from me, but they’re trying to test that,” Wallace told CNN’s Don Lemon on Tuesday night. “As a person, Don, that doesn’t need the fame, doesn’t need the hype, doesn’t need the media, I could care less.
“… None of the allegations of it being a hoax will break me or tear me down. Will it piss me off? Absolutely, but that only fuels the competitive drive in me to shut everybody up to get back on the race track next week in Pocono under a tremendous amount of B.S.”
He should not be getting hate. He should not be compared to Jussie Smollett. Ever.
Whether it was a garage lever, or not, a noose was found tied in Wallace’s garage stall. According to the FBI, it may not have been a threat to Wallace’s life, but it was a noose.
And that’s not Bubba’s fault.