Black NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace is speaking out after the U.S. Attorney and the FBI determined that no hate crime had been committed at the Geico 500 race at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.
The report follows news that a "noose" had been found in Bubba’s garage at the track in Alabama on Sunday. The possible hate crime spurred an outpouring of love for Wallace on Monday, as his fellow drivers pushed his #43 car to the starting line as a show of solidarity.
On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. released a joint statement, revealing evidence showing that the rope that had been believed to be a noose had been in the garage where it was found since at least October 2019. The statement claims “nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4” back in October 2019. Therefore “no federal crime was committed.”
Bubba reacted on Twitter, writing, “It’s been an emotional few days. 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. Make no mistake, though some will try, this should not detract from the show of unity we had on Monday, and the progress we’ve made as a sport to be a more welcoming environment for all.”
The tweet comes after Wallace did a CNN interview with Don Lemon on Tuesday, saying he said he felt his character was being questioned.
Wallace, who was not the one to report the noose, said, "I'm pissed. I'm mad because people are trying to test my character and the person that I am and my integrity. They're not stealing that from me, but trying to test that.”
Bubba continued, "And as a person that doesn't need the fame, doesn't need the hype, doesn't need the media, I could care less. I could give two craps about that. But, to sit there and read — that's my problem I'm reading too much into (what's being said on social media) and investing too much time into it."
"I'm pissed. I'm mad because people are trying to test my character and the person that I am and my integrity." - NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace on social media reaction to the conclusion of the FBI investigation into the noose found in his team's garage https://t.co/YH4ynYqv64 pic.twitter.com/fB0m9Yj9FD— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) June 24, 2020
Last week, Bubba competed in a Black Lives Matter-themed race car and called on NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag. His request was granted.
Wallace is the only Black driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, and is the most successful Black driver in the organization’s history.