NASCAR's photo confirms a noose was in Bubba Wallace's garage stall but it doesn't wipe away the unjust attacks he faced
The challenge to Bubba Wallace's character hit the mainstream cable news Wednesday night.
When Wallace spent the day defending himself for what the FBI and the US attorney for the northern Alabama district said had nothing to do with it, Fox News presenter Tucker Carlson shamelessly and inexactly pursued Wallace.
Unfortunately, the attack was predictable. Carlson - the lawyer at Fox News has argued that he is moderating a show that is "hyperbolic commentary" and is not current news in a defamation lawsuit - saw advertisers (again) leaving his show in June after posting comments on Black Had reduced Live's matter.
"Yes, it wasn't a straight sling, it was a straight garage door train," said Carlson. “And today Wallace somehow admitted it. He said the noose was not what we feared. He may have been deeply disappointed to learn that he can no longer pretend to be a victim. "
On Thursday, NASCAR released the photo of the noose that hung in Wallace's garage stand, letting everyone try to claim that what the federal investigators termed a noose was not a stupid noose.
Yes, it was a straight noose. So big a noose that the former Supreme Court Potter Stewart standard "I know when I see it" can be easily applied. NASCAR's answer was justified.
What the noose was, however, was a hate crime. Federal investigators concluded on Tuesday that the noose had been in the garage since October 2019 and was not directed against Wallace. In several interviews on Tuesday evening and Wednesday, Wallace did not deny the results of the investigators in the slightest and repeated that he had not seen the noose in person on Sunday and, due to NASCAR's coronavirus protocols, did not even have access to his own garage stand.
However, these annoying facts have not got in the way of the 26-year-old and only black driver who drives full-time in NASCAR. These cuts, "said NASCAR President Steve Phelps, are" offensive. "
"Bubba Wallace and the 43 team had nothing to do with it," said Phelps. “Bubba Wallace did nothing else than represent this sport with courage, class and dignity. It is insulting to see someone suggesting something else, and frankly it is further proof of how far we have to go as a society. "
It was a strong statement from Phelps shortly after the photo was published minutes earlier. But it was also too late. What Wallace had to do with those who were somehow upset with him and inexplicably confirmed by stating that a noose was not a hate crime was inexcusable.
After Phelps had asked no questions on Tuesday evening, Wallace was left alone to defend himself on television in the 24 hours that followed federal investigators' testimony when he became a peasant in the ongoing American cultural war.
"I don't think someone who isn't part of our sport and comments on what we should or shouldn't have done, or it was a joke and that's all wrong, I just can't speak. But I would say again "NASCAR showed its true face on Monday, our drivers, our crews, everyone on the racetrack, but more importantly, all the fans who saw it on TV," said Phelps.
NASCAR was even drawn into the chaos when it was sitting idly by. The same sanctioning authority that President Donald Trump lavishly harbored in front of the Daytona 500 in February and had Trump's sedan lead the field in ceremonial rounds, was accused of having "Marxist" leaders in another Fox program later on Wednesday evening.
It is impossible to decipher how Marxist it is to act quickly against a possible hate crime.
Driver Bubba Wallace and those who supported him on Monday. (AP Photo / John Bazemore)
The attacks on Wallace and NASCAR on Fox News - a broadcaster that broadcasts about half of NASCAR's national series races each year - underscored the damage that NASCAR's silence had caused. A significant part of the NASCAR fan base is a consumer of Fox News. What these viewers saw in video clips on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning was not only imprecise and illogical, but also extremely harmful to the NASCAR own brand.
Imagine how ineffective these attacks would have been if a photo of the noose had been shown in Wallace's publicly available garage stand or a video of Phelps on a large network condemning the attacks on Wallace as a person.
Instead, NASCAR was waiting to both answer questions and share the photo, and no explanation was given as to why outside of using its own internal investigation as the reason. We wanted to know, but NASCAR interrupted Phelps' conference call on Thursday after less than 30 minutes and only 13 questions from less than 10 reporters.
The final comments from Phelps indicated that NASCAR just wanted to switch to Pocono and race again. But it won't be that easy. NASCAR was proactive on Sunday night. Perhaps too proactive, as Phelps apologized for not using the word "allegedly" to describe the "hideous act" that NASCAR had committed during the day.
However, this misstep should not have prevented NASCAR from waiting so long for a response in the days following the statement that no charges would be brought. Wallace had to go through a lot. And he could have gone through a lot less, with a little more convenience from series leaders.
The noose found in Bubba Wallace's garage stand. (via NASCAR)
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Nick Bromberg is an author for Yahoo Sports.
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