Update, Tuesday, June 23rd: NASCAR announced that the FBI had concluded its investigation, and found no evidence that a hate crime had been committed. The rope tied into a noose had reportedly been hanging on the door of the garage since last fall, per ESPN. The FBI said no charges would be filed.
The FBI announced Monday that it would be investigating a noose that was found in the Talladega Superspeedway garage stall of NASCAR’s only full-time black driver, Bubba Wallace. The noose was placed in his stall following the news that NASCAR would no longer allow Confederate flags at its races.
U.S. Attorney Jay Town and, the FBI, and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are currently reviewing the situation, according to the AP. “Regardless of whether federal charges can be brought, this type of action has no place in our society,” Town said.
NASCAR banned the flag as recent protests raged surrounding the police killing of George Floyd — Wallace being a vocal supporter of the move. “The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry,” NASCAR said in a statement. “Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR races and events.”
Tensions were high at a race on June 20th, with fans driving past the Alabama race track toting Confederate flags and a plane flying a banner reading: “Defund NASCAR.” The noose was found after the race was postponed due to rain. “We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act,” NASCAR said in a statement. “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.”
Wallace, 26, made a statement this past weekend via Twitter: “The 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.”
The driver has worn an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt at past races and has given his car with a Black Lives Matter paint scheme.
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 22, 2020