The FBI concluded on Tuesday that the NASCAR "noose" incident involving race car driver Bubba Wallace was not a hate crime. A rope fashioned as a noose was discovered in Wallace's garage stall ahead of the Talladega race in Lincoln, Alabama, and he and his supporters were outraged, determining that it was a noose, especially because it was discovered just a few days after Wallace said he wanted to ban Confederate flags at all circuit events. So NASCAR and the FBI conducted an investigation into the matter.
The agency determined that the rope had been in the garage since October 2019, clearly not intended to target Wallace. NASCAR confirmed the findings and released a statement that they were relieved this not an intentional act of racism against Bubba.
NASCAR releases a statement on the situation: pic.twitter.com/RC6asyMxMn— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) June 23, 2020
But in an interview with CNN's Don Lemon Tuesday night, Wallace maintained that it was a noose and not a garage pull. Wallace explained that he himself never saw the rope. It was a NASCAR official that reported it to the authorities.
"Whether tied in 2019, or whatever, it was a noose," Wallace said.
"Whether tied in 2019, or whatever, it was a noose," Bubba Wallace told @donlemon, after the FBI said a noose found in the NASCAR driver's garage was there before his team moved in. https://t.co/q55sco26Y4 pic.twitter.com/Xo3D8DQ9Hu— CNN Sport (@cnnsport) June 24, 2020
But it appears that Wallace is now cleaning up his comments. In another new statement, it seems that he accepts that the rope was not intended to be a noose and he's "relieved" that the situation is not what they feared it was. Wallace also says he and his team are a bit "embarrassed," but it's better than being the victim of a hate crime.
Some people welcomed the explanation. But critics said it was too little, too late, and that he's already lost some fans.