Bubba Wallace, NASCAR And The Noose
Bubba Wallace, NASCAR And The Noose
The Department of Justice is looking into a noose discovered in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Wallace did not discover the noose himself. It was found by a member of his team who immediately reported it to Nascar.
Disclaimer: I have never watched a Nascar race. The idea of watching people drive around an oval bores me beyond belief.
Bubba Wallace is the only full-time Nascar driver who is African American. Jesse Iwuji, a Navy Veteran, races in the Nascar truck series part time.
With the support of the Richard Petty Racing Team, Wallace has been vocal in his support for concerns in the Black community:
Wallace, the only Black driver in NASCAR’s top circuit, has been an outspoken advocate of the Black Lives Matter movement and the corresponding protests against systemic racism and police brutality. He wore an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt before one event, repainted his car with the “Black Lives Matter” phrase and called on NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag, which the organization agreed to do June 10.
As ESPN reported, the Confederate Battle Flag was on full display on Sunday outside of the venue:
Vehicles lined the boulevard outside Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama, waving the flag and a plane flew above the track towing a banner of a Confederate flag that read, “Defund NASCAR.”
David Radvansky, a 32-year-old from suburban Atlanta, brought his wife and boys, who are 3 and 6, on Sunday. He said he started coming to Talladega in the 1990s when his father parked cars at races, and he applauds NASCAR’s decision to ban the Confederate flags.
Notice, I wrote Confederate Battle Flag. The Confederate flag that folks favor was not the Confederate flag. The Stars and Bars or Bonnie Blue Flag is here. The flag that the flyers prefer is the Battle Flag of the State of Tennessee, here. So, the excuse that I hear, that the flag only represents Southern Culture is bovine excrement. It’s a threat, just like a raised fist. If you want to represent Southern Culture get a flag that shows sweet tea, mudding, or a mater samich, with home grown tomatoes.
You know what else is a threat? A noose. Between 1882 and 1968, 4,743 people were lynched by the noose. Of those, twice as many blacks as white were lynched, despite the fact that the black U.S. population has remained at about 13%. You can see the issue clearly when it is laid out this way.
The Geico 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway was postponed until today because of the weather in Alabama. Every Nascar driver on the site, showed support for Bubba Wallace before the race:
Sorry about the depressing music and solemn intonations of the broadcaster. Jeez.
As soon as the noose information was made public, Nascar and Richard Petty Racing both released statements. From the Washington Post, Nascar wrote:
NASCAR President Steve Phelps said Monday afternoon that the sport will permanently ban the person or people who hung the noose in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Sunday.
“Unequivocally, they will be banned from the sport for life,” Phelps said in a teleconference with reporters. “There is no room for this at all. We won’t tolerate it. They won’t be here.”
Phelps underscored NASCAR’s conviction that “there is no place for racism” in the sport and said the “heinous act” only strengthened its resolve to make stock-car racing welcome and open to all, then fielded questions.
From CNN, the Richard Petty Racing Team statement:
Monday, NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty, the co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, which runs Wallace’s #43 car, released a statement supporting Wallace.
“I’m enraged by the act of someone placing a noose in the garage stall of my race team. There is absolutely no place in our sport or our society for racism,” he said. “This filthy act serves as a reminder of how far we still have to go to eradicate racial prejudice and it galvanizes my resolve to use the resources of Richard Petty Motorsports to create change.
“The sick person who perpetrated this act must be found, exposed, and swiftly and immediately expelled from NASCAR. I believe in my heart this despicable act is not representative of the competitors I see each day in the NASCAR garage area. I stand shoulder to shoulder with Bubba, yesterday, today, tomorrow and every day forward.”
If someone in the Nascar family placed the noose in Bubba Wallace’s stall to frighten him, they will be caught. Security cameras are everywhere.
If someone in the Nascar family placed the noose in Bubba Wallace’s stall to bolster the claim of racism against Nascar, or white people, or America, they will be caught. Security cameras are everywhere.
Either of the above situations is bad for all of us. The perpetrator will be caught and race relations will continue to deteriorate.
Just so you can finish the story, Bubba Wallace placed 14th out of 40 in the Geico 500 at Talladega Super Speedway. Jimmie Johnson was spun out.
It was a garage door pull that had been there since Fall 2019. Bubba Wallace had only been assigned that garage the week before the scheduled June, 21, 2010 race.
Breaking: The FBI has determined that Bubba Wallace was not the victim of a hate crime and that a pull rope fashioned like a noose had been on a garage door at Talladega since as early as last fall, NASCAR said Tuesday. https://t.co/D5mLTZHgVC
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 23, 2020