The ‘noose’ purportedly hanging in NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s garage may have actually been a rope used to close the door of the carport, internet sleuths have argued, citing videos and photographs of the alleged crime scene.
NASCAR called for a full investigation after one of Wallace’s team members claimed to have discovered a noose in their garage stall at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama on Sunday. The black driver, who never saw the threatening rope himself, said that the incident showed that the sport was struggling with racism. But there may be a simpler and far less racist explanation for the alleged hate crime.
A video dug up from 2019 shows garage #4 – the stall used by Wallace’s team at Talladega – featured a pull rope with a hand loop, which was almost certainly used to manually operate the garage door. Curiously, a photograph of the same garage stall taken on the day that the alleged noose was discovered shows that the hand loop was missing and had likely been cut from the rope.
Conservative commentator Mark Dice argued that there was a “99.9% chance” that the noose was in fact the garage pull that had been in the carport long before Wallace’s team member stumbled upon it. Dice noted that it wasn’t uncommon for harmless objects to be misidentified as hate symbols. He pointed to a recent example in which “nooses” found in an Oakland park were later revealed to be exercise aids.
His conclusion was shared by other Twitter sleuths, who made side-by-side comparisons of the suspected ‘noose’.
Oddly enough, NASCAR President Steve Phelps declined to bat down the theory during a recent press conference. “I am not sure. I have no information on that,” Phelps said after being asked if the noose was “the rope that normally you would pull down the garage door [with].”
Sharing the exact quote because I misunderstood in real time what Steve Phelps said.”I am not sure. I have no information on that.”Deleted the previous tweet to avoid confusion. pic.twitter.com/IhM1Rw5PzT
— Matt Weaver (@MattWeaverAW) June 23, 2020
Many have argued that the high level of security at the racing facility should allow investigators to quickly determine if there was in fact a crime committed. The FBI’s Birmingham, Alabama office has already begun an investigation into the matter – and it may soon become clear if there really was a noose, or if it was just a rope to close the garage.
Whatever the truth is, it seems NASCAR has wasted little time in showing solidarity with Wallace. His fellow drivers and their crews escorted his race car as he prepared for Monday’s race.