As will come to the surprise of very few, it turns out that, according to the DOJ and FBI, Bubba Wallace was NOT the victim of a hate crime. No, the rope that many rushed to assume was part of an attempt to intimidate Bubba Wallace over recent BLM and Confederate Flag statements - was actually just a rope - a rope to be used to pull down the garage door to his station. Here's the rope in question:
Per the joint statement from the DOJ/FBI:
This comes after several days of speculation, many using this as an opportunity to slap NASCAR as "racist" or "bigoted" against the only African-American driver in the sport. The sport itself pained itself over the allegation, threatening to ban the perpetrator of LIFE and providing ample support to Wallace; including an act of unity by all of the drivers who pushed Wallace's 43 car to the front of the field during some pre-race ceremonies.
Wallace himself seems to have embraced the support provided to him, posting this picture - captioned 'Together' on his personal twitter account yesterday.
For its part, NASCAR quickly released a statement of its own after the DOJ/FBI' statement dropped:
This feels like the best possible outcome - no 'hoax' and no 'hate crime'. NASCAR gets an opportunity to show it's unity with a community not typically associated with its brand and everyone moves on. That's all probably true, but some questions remain why this matter wasn't investigated and settled before having the entire WRATH of the media descend on the Wallace and the sport. As tempting as it may be to call Bubba Wallace "Jussie 2.0", I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt - though there was a CLEAR overreaction by many here. How anyone saw that rope and assumed it was a noose directed at Wallace, I have a hard time comprehending. How this got to the media and nobody thought to investigate or post pictures of the "noose' for everyone to judge for themselves, I have a hard time comprehending. We may never have seen this 'noose' if not for some twitter sleuths posting photos of the particular garage last night.
So I am NOT going to call this Jussie 2.0, but this whole thing still stinks a little bit from multiple places.
Maybe people will learn a lesson here - don't jump to conclusions, investigate before you assume, only make a big deal out of things that you're certain are a big deal. . . Who am I kidding, nobody is going to learn a damn thing.