While the FBI concluded earlier in the day that the alleged noose was simply a door pull tied by a previous occupant, Watson indicated that his team had proof otherwise.
“From the evidence that we have — that I have,” said Wallace, “it’s a straight-up noose.”
“Whether someone tied it in 2019…It wasn’t directed at me,” said Wallace, “but it was a noose.”
Wallace is one of the most successful African American drivers in NASCAR history. He indicated that the incident has some questioning his truthfulness.
“I’m pissed,” he said. “I’m mad because people are trying to steal my character.”
“It doesn’t matter if we provide evidence, photos,” said the NASCAR driver. “It will always be photoshopped. I will always have haters.”
He went on to describe how he learned of the rope’s presence in his garage.
“About 5:30 6 o’clock on Sunday evening,” said Wallace, “I was about to go out to dinner with a couple competitors and I get a phone call from [NASCAR] president, Steve Phelps. I immediately think, ‘What did I do? What have I done?'”
“The look on his face,” he said of Phelps, “I will never forget.”
“The conversation I had with Steve Phelps was probably one of the hardest things he had ever done. Tears rolling down his face.”
Phelps, according to Wallace, said a “hate crime” had occurred, and the NASCAR president said he would not stand for it.
Wallace told CNN’s Don Lemon of the noose, “I never saw it.”
After a day investigating the alleged placement of a noose in the racetrack garage stall of Bubba Wallace, the FBI says the rope was in place months before NASCAR’s only top-echelon black driver was assigned to the stall and that no federal crime was committed.
Here is the statement issued by NASCAR today:
“The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime. The FBI report concludes, and photographic evidence confirms, that the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall. This was obviously well before the 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment. We appreciate the FBI’s quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba. We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all who love racing.”
Wallace posted his own statement to Twitter after the news broke on Sunday:
The FBI finding comes just hours after Wallace said on The View he was offended but “not shocked” by internet rumors suggesting there was either no noose or that it had been placed there by NASCAR to garner support for the removal of the Confederate flag.
“People are entitled to their own opinion to make them feel good or help them sleep at night,” Wallace told The View‘s Sunny Hostin. “Simpleminded people like that, the ones who are afraid of change, they use everything in their power to defend what they stand for.”