Wednesday morning, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace appeared on ESPN's First Take on to react to the FBI's investigation into the "noose incident" at Talladega Superspeedway. He said that he is relieved about the rope being a garage pull and not a targeted hate crime. Wallace also provided the identity of the crew member that discovered the rope with a noose handle and confirmed that this individual did research before alerting NASCAR officials.
"When my crew member had seen that, who happened to be African American, he did his research first and I was very proud of that," Wallace said to Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman. He continued to explain that the crew member did not immediately alert NASCAR officials. This crew member first took some time to examine the surrounding areas. He then discovered that only one garage had a door pull in the shape of a noose.
"David Cropps, a guy I'll stand behind in any trenches any day, walked up and down the garage to make sure he wasn't overreacting," Wallace continued. "When he saw that the other garage pulls were basically just a solid piece of rope, no knots in them. We had a knot that was in the shape of a noose, yeah, that calls." Wallace continued to explain that he doesn't know the backstory behind the noose or the reason for the person tying the rope in that manner. He's just unhappy that he is the one on the "bad end of the deal."
The bad end that Wallace referenced on Wednesday pertains to the reactions from social media users. Several people have alleged that he partnered with NASCAR to create a hoax. Others said he was trying to make up a hate crime in order to boost his standing in the sport.
The debates have taken place on Twitter in the days since NASCAR initially announced the investigation. Having the statement from the FBI only increased the frequency of these arguments as fans and critics butted heads. Meanwhile, media members such as Jemele Hill and Jamie Little have come to Wallace's defense and reiterated that he never saw the rope pull. He only saw images and worked with information provided by NASCAR President Steve Phelps.
While the FBI's investigation is over, the debates will continue on social media. NASCAR is still investigating why one specific rope handle was in the shape of a noose and will provide updates at a later time. Until this happens, Twitter users will continue discussing the rope and whether or not Wallace should apologize for his reaction.