Bubba Wallace reacts to the FBI’s findings that say he was “not the target of a hate crime” Sunday at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.
Over the weekend, NASCAR released a statement saying “a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team,” whose car is driven by Wallace — the only Black driver in the auto racing organization’s Cup Series. NASCAR also added that they were “angry and outraged” by this possible incident of racism.
After the FBI launched an investigation into the matter, NASCAR said in a statement on Tuesday that, per photographic evidence, “the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose has been positioned there since as early as last fall.” Thus, “this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba.”
“This was obviously well before the 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment,” they continued.
However, while speaking to CNN’s Don Lemon on Tuesday night, Wallace appeared to dismiss the FBI’s conclusion.
“I’m pissed,” Wallace told the anchor. “I’m mad because people are trying to test my character, and the person that I am, and my integrity. And they’re not stealing that away from me, but they’re just trying to test that.”
“I’ve been racing all of my life,” the athlete continued. “We’ve raced out of hundreds of garages that never had garage pulls like that. So people that want to call it a garage pull and put out all the videos and photos of knots being as their evidence, go ahead, but from the evidence that we have — and I have — it’s a straight-up noose.”
Though many detractors have called this situation a "hoax," Wallace refuses to give in to these allegations.
“None of the allegations of [it] being a hoax will break me or tear me down,” Wallace exclaimed. “Will it piss me off? Absolutely. But that only fuels the competitive drive in me to shut everybody up — to get back out on the racetrack next week in Pocono and showcase what I can do behind the wheel under tremendous amounts of BS, whatever it is you want to say. It won’t break me; it won’t tear me down. Again, I will stand proud of where I’m at."
However, Wednesday on Twitter, Wallace appeared to accept the FBI’s findings when he thanked them, as well as NASCAR and his team, 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," he wrote. "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."