President Donald Trump demanded an apology from NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, falsely claiming the noose found in his garage at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama on June 21 was a “hoax.” He also seemed to reference the confederate flag, which NASCAR banned after it was advocated for by Wallace, the only black driver in NASCAR.
“Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX?” The president added, “That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!”
Heavy reached out to Wallace for comment, but his rep said they did not have anything to add. “The June 25 statement released by NASCAR and the following press conference by NASCAR president Steve Phelps answered all questions regarding the situation at the Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway,” the email response to Heavy read.
“At this time, the team does not have anything to add. Wallace has extensively exhausted the topic via a multitude of interviews in recent weeks,” the continued. “It is clear there is nothing more to say.”
The Noose Was Not a Hate Crime, But It ‘Was Real’
The FBI determined Wallace was not a victim of a hate crime on June 24, saying the noose had been hanging in the garage since October. “Although the noose is now known to have been in garage number 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week,” the agency said in a statement.
As noted by TMZ, Wallace’s garage was the only one with a rope pull that was fashioned in the shape of a noose. They also added that NASCAR’s ratings have increased.
After NASCAR faced criticism that they overreacted to the noose, President Steve Phelps the threat was real.
“As you can see from the photo, the noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba,” Phelps said, as noted by ESPN. “Based on the evidence we had, we thought our drivers–that one of our drivers had been threatened, a driver who had been extremely courageous in recent words and actions. It’s our responsibility to react and investigate, and that’s exactly what we did.”
Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham defended Wallace, saying he didn’t have anything to apologize for. “You saw the best in NASCAR. They all rallied to Bubba’s side. I would be looking to celebrate that kind of attitude rather than being worried it’s a hoax,” Graham said on Fox News radio, as tweeted by HuffPost politics reporter Igor Bobic.
Wallace Was ‘Relieved’ The Noose Was Not a Hate Crime
The day after the FBI’s investigation concluded, Wallace said he was relieved over their finding. The driver took to Instagram to share his official statement, where he thanked NASCAR and the FBI for their speedy actions.
Wallace’s full statement read:
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.