The NASCAR community is outraged after a noose was found in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace, the sports only full-time African-American driver. The incident occurred at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama on Sunday. NASCAR announced the news in a statement in which it vowed to investigate who is responsible for it.
ESPN reporter Marty Smith went on air Sunday night to discuss what happened, and he was clearly very upset about it.
“It pisses me the hell off and it pisses everybody else in the sport off who care, not only for Bubba, but for every single person he is standing up for,” Smith said.
Wallace has been an outspoken supporter of the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement and even had those words written on the side of his car for a race a couple weeks ago. He was also instrumental in getting NASCAR to finally ban confederate flags from all races.
"It pisses me the hell off and it pisses everybody else in the sport off who care, not only for Bubba, but for every single person he is standing up for."@MartySmithESPN delivers a passionate message after a noose was found in Bubba Wallace's garage stall. pic.twitter.com/hyAbxh7uSW
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 22, 2020
“I spoke to a senior NASCAR official just a few moments ago and they reiterated that statement. They’re going to find who this person is, they’re going to eliminate this person from the sport forever.” Smith added, saying “this despicable crap, is not only not acceptable, but there’s just no place for it. And whoever that is, I hope that you are so ashamed of yourself.”
Wallace issued his own statement about the incident on social media, calling it a “despicable act of racism and hatred.” He added that he was “saddened” by it and it serves as a “painful reminder” of how much further we have to go as a society to combat racism.
“Over the last several weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the support from people across the NASCAR industry including other drivers and team members in the garage,” Wallace added.
The noose was found in an area that is tightly restricted to only a limited number of people with the right credentials.
In NASCAR’s statement, the organization stressed that it is committed to finding out who did this.
“We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act,” the statement read. “We have launched an immediate investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport.”
The sport has an ugly relationship with racism and prejudice that it has taken great efforts to improve upon, especially over the last few weeks amid the nationwide demonstrations for racial justice.