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On Monday, prior to the start of a race at the Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR drivers, pit crew, and fans paid tribute to the sport’s only black Cup competitor, Bubba Wallace, after previous reports claimed that someone allegedly discovered a noose in his team garage at the track a day earlier.
Sunday’s alleged discovery led NASCAR President Steve Phelps to declare that whoever was responsible has earned a lifetime ban from the sport.
“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 said in a statement posted online.
“Together our sport has made a commitment to driving real change and championing a community that is accepting and welcoming of everyone,” adding, “we will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate.”
Also, the alleged incident sparked additional concerns because garage areas are secured and only NASCAR drivers and pit crew are allowed in.
Now, 24 hours after Monday’s race and tribute to Wallace, many Americans who remember being burned by the Jussie Smollett hoax are becoming suspicious over the noose claims, demanding that NASCAR either provide evidence via surveillance camera or answer questions about a small noose-like garage rope that has been making the rounds on social media.
Why haven’t we seen a photo of the noose yet? And what happened when NASCAR checked the security cams? Should be super easy to figure out who did it. Why haven’t we heard yet? https://t.co/JzxmDQo0Bv
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) June 22, 2020
“Why haven’t we seen a photo of the noose yet? And what happened when NASCAR checked the security cams? Should be super easy to figure out who did it. Why haven’t we heard yet?” Matt Walsh, podcaster and correspondent for The Daily Wire, wrote on Twitter Monday.
Another user posted photos purporting to show NASCAR garage bays at Talladega Superspeedway featuring ropes that appear to have small nooses on the end that are used to pull down doors.
#nascarnoose solved. These images are all from the garages at Talladega SuperSpeedway.
Image 1 shows rope “nooses” are affixed to every garage bay door as a pull down.
Image 2 shows Bubba’s bay 4 in Nov. 2019.
Image 3 is of bay 4 after the incident. Notice the rope is cut. pic.twitter.com/2rHdSdgtOo
— James (@JamesWashngton) June 23, 2020
The user also posted a photo of the bay where Wallace’s No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro was allegedly parked on Sunday, in which the garage door rope appears to have been cut.
“Is there a picture of the noose that was supposedly found? Because if it turns out to look like that, #BubbaWallace should be permanently banned from NASCAR. Maybe it doesn’t though. So, is there a picture of the “noose?” John Hawkins, founder of Right Wing News, wrote.
Is there a picture of the noose that was supposedly found? Because if it turns out to look like that, #BubbaWallace should be permanently banned from NASCAR. Maybe it doesn't though. So, is there a picture of the "noose?" https://t.co/junrWurRxb
— John Hawkins (@johnhawkinsrwn) June 23, 2020
“I truly hope this is not true. We aren’t this stupid as a society. Please tell me it hasn’t gotten this bad. Do we have a 100% denial from NASCAR on this?? Please help,” added Jason Howerton.
I truly hope this is not true. We aren't this stupid as a society. Please tell me it hasn't gotten this bad.
Do we have a 100% denial from NASCAR on this?? Please help. https://t.co/zyb1IVFA12
— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) June 23, 2020
Mark you’re killing me 😂 pic.twitter.com/Oc3dhFde2w
— TRUMP 2020 SZN🇺🇸 (@ReturnTheMap) June 23, 2020
YouTuber and podcaster Mark Dice produced a video that includes official NASCAR imagery showing a rope with a small noose-like lop at the end that is used to pull down garage doors.
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) June 23, 2020
“Dilbert” creator Scott Adams also openly questioned the official noose story.
“What do you call a national story about a noose that weirdly includes no photo of the noose? Fake noose. If the Bubba Wallace noose story is real, it is appalling, of course. But without a photo, I’d give it a 5% chance of being real,” he wrote.
What do you call a national story about a noose that weirdly includes no photo of the noose?
If the Bubba Wallace noose story is real, it is appalling, of course. But without a photo, I'd give it a 5% chance of being real.
— Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) June 23, 2020
Several other users posted photos of the alleged noose-like garage door rope.
This is a photo from last year at Talladega. This is the cord used to pull garage door up. There is unconfirmed speculation this may be what the crew member saw. pic.twitter.com/ZnRd9Mlwul
— Denlesks (@Denlesks) June 23, 2020
The noose story comes amid intensifying racial tension around the country in the wake of the deaths of black persons at the hands of police officers and whites, with each case differing from the others in many distinct ways.
But if the story turns out to have been a case of misunderstanding or worse, something that was falsified, it will likely only further inflame tensions.
That said, the Justice Department is investigating the noose claim.
“The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Alabama, FBI and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division are reviewing the situation surrounding the noose that was found in Bubba Wallace’s garage to determine whether there are violations of federal law,” the department said in a statement.
“Regardless of whether federal charges can be brought, this type of action has no place in our society.”
“On Monday, fifteen FBI special agents conducted numerous interviews regarding the situation at Talladega Superspeedway. After a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding this event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed.
The FBI learned that garage number 4, where the noose was found, was assigned to Bubba Wallace last week. The investigation also revealed evidence, including authentic video confirmed by NASCAR, that the noose found in garage number 4 was in that garage as early as October 2019. Although the noose is now known to have been in garage number 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week.
The decision not to pursue federal charges is proper after reviewing all available facts and all applicable federal laws. We offer our thanks to NASCAR, Mr. Wallace, and everyone who cooperated with this investigation.”