Back on June 21, a crew member found a rope that had purportedly been tied into the shape of a noose in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Wallace is NASCAR’s only Black driver, and, weeks earlier, he had pressured the organization to ban fans from bringing the Confederate flag to events. The noose is a symbol evocative of lynchings, the practice of hanging Blacks of trumped-up crimes or for even having been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The event drew condemnation, and at the next race following the discovery of the noose, Wallace’s NASCAR colleagues walked with him to the starting line, as reported at the time by The Inquisitr.
An FBI investigation, however, determined that Wallace was not the victim of a hate crime, and the rope had been in that garage in that form for several months.
Now, Donald Trump is demanding an apology for the “hoax.”
“Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX? That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!,” he tweeted.
Yahoo Sports writer Liz Roscher accuses Trump of misrepresenting the facts, noting that NASCAR admitted that the rope was unambiguously tied in such a way as to be a noose, and that it wasn’t Wallace who found it, but a member of his crew. Further, the FBI, though it concluded that no crime had taken place, did not find any evidence that the entire thing was a hoax.
As for Trump’s claim that NASCAR’s ratings are down since the sport banned the Confederate flag, that doesn’t appear to stand up to scrutiny, either. Michael Mulvihill, Fox Sports’ executive vice president/head of strategy, tweeted on Monday that NASCAR viewership is actually up.
“NASCAR viewership on Fox networks is up +8% since returning from its pandemic hiatus on May 17,” he wrote.
Wallace, for his part, has said that he was grateful that the noose incident wasn’t actually a hate crime directed at him. However, he also said that the ensuing federal investigation was not an overreaction.