NASCAR announced the results of an FBI investigation into allegations of a “noose” being hung in the garage of African-American driver, Bubba Wallace, over the weekend. With the sport going through sensitivity training and banning Confederate flags, it seems that an existing item was not a hate crime at all.
According to NASCAR, “The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime. The FBI report concludes, and photographic evidence confirms, that the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall. This was obviously well before the 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment. We appreciate the FBI’s quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba. We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all who love racing.”
With a history of “Southern pride” and “good ‘ole boy” racing, NASCAR is making many moves to remove the stigma and imagery of the enslaved and Jim Crow South from its corporate public perception. Unfortunately, this particular instance left the big-time show with a bit of egg on the face.