Separate FBI and NASCAR investigations found what some claimed was a “noose” in NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s garage at Talladega Superspeedway was instead a pull rope for a garage door that had been there since 2019.
A joint statement from U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and FBI Special Agent Johnnie Sharp, Jr., says a federal investigation found no federal crime was committed. The rope was determined to be there randomly. Fifteen FBI agents spent numerous hours investigating this allegation of a hate crime launched by NASCAR.
NASCAR announced in a Monday morning conference call that some of the members of team 43 found what they perceived to be a noose Sunday afternoon, and they called on the FBI for an investigation.
The pull rope was hanging inside Wallace’s garage. Wallace, the only black member of team 43, stirred up controversy and negative reaction from many of the sport’s fans earlier this month when he called for NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag from its properties earlier this month, which it did on June 10.
Wallace didn’t discover the “noose” for himself but was informed of its presence by NASCAR officials.
Before the end of the investigation, many expressed their criticism on Twitter, claiming the reporting of the noose was falsified or staged. Wallace responded to critics Tuesday morning on “The View” in a discussion of the event.
“People are entitled to their own opinion to make them feel good or help them sleep at night,” he said, adding, “Simple-minded people like that, the ones who are afraid of change, they use everything in their power to defend what they stand for.”
NEWS: The FBI has just released a statement about the NASCAR noose incident at Talladega, indicating it was a misunderstanding. No crime was committed. The noose was already there as early as last year. pic.twitter.com/j2MGrOvUN3
— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) June 23, 2020
Bubba was assigned to use garage no. 4, where the rope was found, only in the last week. The rope has been in the garage since as early as October 2019, according to confirmed NASCAR footage.
“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 no. 4 last week,” the FBI statement says.
Also, the item wasn’t a noose at all, but a garage pull rope, according to an independent NASCAR statement: “The FBI report concludes, and photographic evidence confirms, that the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall.”