NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace received strong support from Lakers star LeBron James after a noose was found in his garage stall at Talladega. James told Wallace he is “right here with you” as the NBA icon encouraged the driver on Twitter.
“Sickening! @BubbaWallace my brother! Know you don’t stand alone! I’m right here with you as well as every other athlete. I just want to continue to say how proud I am of you for continuing to take a stand for change here in America and sports! @NASCAR I salute you as well! 🙏🏾✊🏾👑,” James noted.
Wallace put out a lengthy statement of his own noting that he would not be deterred from speaking up for what is right.
“This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down,” Wallace noted at the end of his statement. “I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in.”
LeBron Also Gave Bubba a Shoutout After He Revealed a Black Lives Matter Paint Scheme
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 10, 2020
James also gave Wallace a shoutout after the driver revealed a special Black Lives Matter paint scheme in Martinsville.
“BIG S/O @BubbaWallace!! 🤜🏻🤛🏾,” James tweeted at the time.
Wallace discussed his decision to drive the car amidst protests being conducted around the world.
“I’m excited for this opportunity to run #BlackLivesMatter on the car for Martinsville,” Wallace explained, per NASCAR.com. “This statement that we have right here. … Running this race car. Being on live television. I think it’s going to speak volumes for what I stand for, but also what the initiative that NASCAR, the whole sport, is trying to push.”
NASCAR Launched an Investigation into the Incident & Is Prepared to Ban the Perpetrator
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 22, 2020
It is unclear who placed the noose in Wallace’s garage stall, but given the strict COVID-19 guidelines it appears likely it was someone who had access to the area. NASCAR announced it has launched an investigation and is prepared to ban the perpetrator from the sport.
“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,” NASCAR said in a statement (via ESPN). “We have launched an immediate investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport.”
The gesture comes just weeks after Wallace encouraged NASCAR to ban the confederate flag from events. Talladega marked the first time NASCAR hosted a race with fans since announcing the confederate flag would no longer be allowed. ESPN’s Marty Smith made an emotional statement about the noose during his appearance on SportsCenter.
“It pisses me the hell off and it pisses everybody else in the sport off who care, not only for Bubba, but for every single person he is standing up for,” Smith explained.
Wallace has received an outpouring of support from a number of other athletes including Alvin Kamara. The Saints running back recently attended the NASCAR race at Homestead decked out in Wallace’s gear.