Noose found hanging in NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s garage at Talladega
A noose was found hanging in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, and NASCAR has launched an immediate investigation into the incident.
In a statement Sunday, NASCAR said it was “angry” and “outraged” and promised to find whoever was responsible and “eliminate them from the sport.” The incident comes less than two weeks after Wallace, who is Black, called for NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag at its races in the wake of George Floyd’s death. A day after Wallace’s public statements, NASCAR banned the flag from all of its properties.
“Today’s despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism,” Wallace wrote on Twitter. “Over the last several weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the support from people across the NASCAR industry, including other drivers and team members in the garage. Together, our sport has made a commitment to driving real change and championing a community that is accepting and welcoming of everyone.
“Nothing is more important and we will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate. As my mother told me today, ‘they are just trying to scare you.’ This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in.”
Rain and thunderstorms pushed back the start of the NASCAR Cup race at Talladega to Monday.
Wallace, who was born in Mobile, Ala., has been instrumental in pushing NASCAR and its drivers to use their platforms to demand racial equality. Wallace has worn a shirt with the message “I can’t breathe” at multiple races this season, and he drove a car supporting the Black Lives Matter movement at Martinsville Speedway.
NASCAR’s scheduled race at Talladega was postponed until Monday because of thunderstorms. Before the race was scheduled to start, people in vehicles lined the boulevard outside the Lincoln, Ala., speedway displaying the Confederate flag. A plane flew over the race track pulling a Confederate flag with the message “Defund NASCAR.” In an email to the Associated Press, a group called the Sons of Confederate Veterans said it was responsible for the plane banner.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, the Confederate flag is a symbol of Southern heritage, but for others it stands for slavery and oppression, which has made it popular with white supremacist groups.
“As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all,” NASCAR said in a statement.
Lakers star LeBron James was among those who expressed outrage over the incident on social media:
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! 🙏🏾✊🏾👑 https://t.co/1TwkjVHai5— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 22, 2020
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