Bubba Johnson has apparently gotten himself some people who understand public relations and has issued his best statement to-date on fake noose-gate:
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 24, 2020
It’s a good statement and one he should have released yesterday. Instead he went on Don Lemon and made things worse for himself.
First, let me say that I heard him tell his side of the story last night and I do empathize with how he heard about it:
"I'm pissed. I'm mad because people are trying to test my character and the person that I am and my integrity." – NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace on social media reaction to the conclusion of the FBI investigation into the noose found in his team's garage https://t.co/YH4ynYqv64 pic.twitter.com/fB0m9Yj9FD
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) June 24, 2020
Essentially Wallace was about to go out to dinner with some competitors around 5:30 when he got a phone call from the president of NASCAR, Steve Phelps, who then went to talk to Wallace in person at his motor home. It was Phelps who told Wallace about the “noose”, after it was found by one of Wallace’s crew members who escalated it to NASCAR officials. Wallace described the interaction with Phelps, saying he was incredibly choked up as he told him about the ‘noose’.
Wallace noted that he’d been in his motor home all day because that’s the only place he’s allowed to be as a racer. He can’t actually go to the garage area.
So knowing this I can now understand why Wallace reacted the way he did. He had the freaking president of NASCAR, someone with immense credibility, telling him what was found. I probably would have believed it too.
But then, in the same interview, after knowing that it was just a garage pull cord, Wallace still told Don Lemon that it was a straight up noose:
"It's a straight up noose." pic.twitter.com/ZbVmHK4UMF
— Black Liberation NOW 🌹 Defund The Police (@CamilaSweetMami) June 24, 2020
Wallace admits it wasn’t tied for him, but still says it’s a straight up noose. Ugh. It was a garage pull that was tied like a noose, meant to allow someone to get their whole hand in the loop to pull the garage up and down. It wasn’t a symbol of hate. It wasn’t a noose in the sense that it was made for someone to be ‘hung’ from it. It was just a garage pull tied like a noose. And it wasn’t left for him or for anyone else. It’s just how the garage pulls at Talladega have been set up for years.
This is what drives people crazy. It’s as if Wallace wants to see a noose where there is none. Maybe he’s just embarrassed now that he was wrong and is trying to save face. Or maybe he really wants to see offense where there is none. The problem is NASCAR fans feel like he’s trying to completely change the sport and they are pissed about it. He’s already gotten the confederate flag banned at NASCAR races and from what I’ve heard he’s been running his car with Black Lives Matter all over it.
I think this incident has done him great harm, and he could have avoided so much of it if he’d have released this afternoon’s statement yesterday and avoided the media tour he’s been doing until the investigation was over.
I guess I’m glad that at least he appears to be trying to get past it now with his statement. Whether that will help him much at this point seems unlikely to me.