Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James tweeted there is “no question” the noose hanging in Bubba Wallace’s garage area was an act of hate—even if it was not particularly targeted at Wallace.
James tweeted his agreement with a segment from ESPN’s Jalen & Jacoby in which Jalen Rose and Dave Jacoby agreed the act of tying the noose itself had racial connotations:
NASCAR released a photo Thursday of the noose, which was tied allegedly as a garage pull last year. Steve Phelps, NASCAR’s president, told reporters the sport examined 1,684 stalls at 29 tracks and found the only noose was the one found in Wallace’s garage:
“Given the facts presented to us, we would have pursued this with the same sense of urgency and purpose. Upon learning of seeing the noose, our initial reaction was to protect our driver. We’re living in a highly charged and emotional time. What we saw was a symbol of hate, and was only present in one area of the garage—that of the 43 car of Bubba Wallace.
“In hindsight, we should have—I should have—used the word ‘alleged’ in our statement. … As you can see from the photo, the noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba. With similar emotion, others across our industry and our media stood up to defend the NASCAR family—our NASCAR family—because they are part of the NASCAR family too. We were proud to see so many stand up for what’s right.”
NASCAR said it could not determine whether it was a member of the Wood Brothers Racing team that tied the noose. Wood Brothers Racing was the last NASCAR team to use the garage before Wallace.
The FBI released a report Tuesday confirming Wallace was not the victim of a targeted hate crime.
“It was a noose,” Wallace said on CNN. “Whether tied in 2019 or whatever, it was a noose. So, it wasn’t directed at me but somebody tied a noose. That’s what I’m saying.”
Wallace is the only black driver on NASCAR’s top circuit.