NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace was the victim of a disturbing act of racism when a noose was found in the garage stall of Wallace’s at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama, on Sunday (6/21).
This happened less than two weeks after Wallace, who is NASCAR’s only black driver, successfully pushed the stock car racing series to ban the Confederate flag at its tracks and facilities.
NASCAR said in a statement, “Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team. We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act. We have launched an immediate investigation and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport.
The statement added, “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.”
ESPN reported that Bubba never saw the noose. It was first seen by a member of Wallace’s team, who immediately brought it to the attention of NASCAR.
Wallace posted to Twitter, “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. 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.”
He continued, “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.”
Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James Tweeted Sunday (6/21), “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!”