This story has spun into the wall. Those behind it keep hitting the gas pedal.

After days of outrage, widespread coverage, copious amounts of lectures, and broad gestures by the collected racing community (along with whispered suggestions of a hoax) the news came out yesterday — ‘’sorry folks, it was not a noose after all’’. The major racist story that came out of NASCAR has turned out to be a non-story, as the FBI released its finding yesterday that what was claimed to be a ‘’noose’’ hung in the mechanic’s stall of driver Bubba Wallace was actually a garage door pull rope, found in all of the garage stalls at the track.

It appears that all of this will be calmly swept aside, as the hate-crime-that-wasn’t has been happily resolved. NASCAR released an official statement that seems an effort to close the book on the matter.

‘’Uh, nothing to see after all folks, see you at the next race!’’

The desire by them to move past this is understandable, but this requires far more of an explanation — from NASCAR, and from Bubba Wallace. So much concerning this reaction to the episode demands some further answers. NASCAR has to explain how it never managed to vet the situation prior to involving the FBI, and Wallace himself has his share of explaining to do as well, since he seems intent on stoking the controversy rather than admitting what is evident to most.

The amazing aspect is that this is an issue that would have been easily resolved with the barest of an internal investigation. The FBI was called in to only find that the objectionable rope was found in all the garages. NASCAR could not discover this reality inside of its own property, but instead required a team of federal agents to come in and point out the obvious. But the organization was too preoccupied with social messaging, sending out images of the drivers pushing Wallace’s car in the field in a show of solidarity, and continuing the narrative of this country being divided by racial intolerance.

Either this means NASCAR overreacted to the barest of charges, or the outfit was seizing on a chance to participate in the national narrative and gain publicity. Neither of these reflect positively on NASCAR; they either come off as incompetent, or deeply cynical. Bubba Wallace as well is not becoming framed in a positive way here.

Just prior to the FBI findings pictures began circulating of these door pulls. They are seen in all stalls, and Wallace himself was parked beside one of these door pulls last season, so we have proof those were in place since last fall. Most telling is the shot of his recent garage, where the door pull in question is clearly cut down.

Despite this photo evidence becoming supported by the FBI findings Wallace has not altered his messaging over this incident. After the release of the FBI report and the statement made by NASCAR, Wallace went on to sit in for an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon and he insisted on keeping this story alive.

The image that I have and I have seen of what was hanging in my garage is not a garage pull. It was a noose. Whether tied in 2019, or whatever, it was a noose.” 

There are levels of irresponsibility behind his comment. As the images above show, Wallace’s team has cut down the standard garage pull. If this rope was not the one in question then more questions need to be answered by them. If, as Wallace declares boldly, ”It was a noose’’’, then where is the evidence of this? We have no physical proof, no photos, no security footage of the item nor of its being put in place.

Pictures contradict Wallace on this matter, and his governing body has declared this to be nothing more than a benign rope in all the garages. In addition, if he is holding on to evidence that contradicts this finding it means that he has withheld that same evidence from the FBI. Does he seriously want to stand on this hill? 

He is currently challenging the feds while essentially admitting he has hidden proof, in order to keep this storyline alive. It is a disturbing reality that the need to provoke and extend the racial tensions is so important that common sense and calm thinking is not a consideration. Emotional hysteria is the priority, and getting the camera time is far more vital than the truth.

Brad Slager
Covering politics, as well as the business side of Show Business. Expert in fine bourbons, good cigars, competent hockey teams, and horrible movies.

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