NASCAR Bubba Wallace appeared on the network morning shows Wednesday, looking dejected and frustrated for having to defend himself after the Federal Bureau of Investigation determined the noose found in his garage stall at Talladega wasn't a hate crime.
Photographs of the alleged noose found Sunday in Wallace's garage haven't been made public by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or NASCAR.
Meanwhile, Wood Brothers Racing team said it cooperated with the investigation and an employee informed the team he recalled "seeing a tied handle in the garage pull down rope from last fall", when the team had the stall.
Despite the fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigation would have no reason to come to a false conclusion about the origins of the noose, NASCAR's No 43 Chevy Camaro driver continued pushing his hate crime claim in an interview with CNN's Don Lemon.
Wallace, the only Black driver in NASCAR's top circuit, has been an outspoken advocate of the Black Lives Matter movement and the corresponding protests against racism and police brutality.
Bubba Wallace takes a selfie of himself and of other drivers who had pushed his vehicle to the front in the pits at Talladega Superspeedway before the NASCAR Cup Series auto race in Talladega Ala., on June 22, 2020.
He successfully led the effort to get NASCAR to ban the Confederate battle flag at its racing events and facilities earlier this month.
"The FBI stated it was a noose over and over again".
"I was relieved, just like many others, to know that it wasn't targeted towards me", Wallace said on NBC's "Today". Hell, even a plane was flying above the track with a Confederate flag and a banner reading, "Defund NASCAR".
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"The evidence was very clear that the noose that was in the garage was in there previously".
Wallace - the only full-time African American driver in NASCAR's Cup Series - finished 14th in Monday's rescheduled Geico 500.
While some have compared the situation with the infamous "noose hoax" by actor Jussie Smollett, reporters covering NASCAR have pushed back on the claim, saying that Wallace himself had never seen the "noose" but was reacting to what he was told.
"The last race we had had there in October, that noose was present, and it was - the fact that it was not found until a member of the 43 team came there is something that is a fact".
The team said it immediately alerted NASCAR and assisted the investigation.
"We are thankful that there was no one involved in perpetrating hate during this weekend's race", the team said.
NASCAR legend Richard Petty, the owner of Wallace's team, stood next to Wallace during the national anthem, and the infield grass on the front stretch was painted with words reading: #IStandWithBubba.
Wallace is NASCAR's only Black driver. "The evidence we had, it was clear we needed to look into this". "This is truly incredible and I'm glad to be a part of this sport".
And let's not forget the larger context surrounding the noose discovery Sunday, less than two weeks after NASCAR finally banned the Confederate flag.