As the FBI and NASCAR wrapped up their investigation into the noose that was found in the garage area at Talladega last weekend, many questions were answered while others seem to be lingering.
A firestorm was sparked Sunday evening when, after NASCAR’s race at the Alabama superspeedway was postponed due to rain, a crew member noticed a noose hanging in the garage area of the only full-time Black driver on the circuit, Bubba Wallace.
Everything about the situation was handled correctly.
Especially during the current climate, the crew member did the right thing by notifying NASCAR of what he had seen. Appropriately, NASCAR issued a statement on the discovery that condemned the presence of a noose and promised to eliminate any perpetrators from the sport.
Racing writers reported the facts of what had been found and relayed the NASCAR statement.
Fearing a possible hate crime situation, NASCAR president Steve Phelps asked the FBI to take charge of the investigation, and 15 agents were dispatched to get to the bottom of the situation.
After a thorough investigation, it was determined the noose — it was referred to as a noose multiple times by the FBI — had been in place as a door pull since October and was not meant for Wallace, who had just been assigned that particular garage stall within the last week.
Those findings were also reported by many of those same journalists as well as the national media that had picked up on the controversy in the following days.
Case closed. An incident was properly acknowledged, reported and investigated.
That is until one reads the comments section on news reports posted on social media, something an intelligent person should never do.
Suddenly, the media were taking all the blame for what happened. Of course, the media blew it out of proportion and were just looking to fan the flames of an already fiery situation in this country. Because, of course, reporting a noose found in the garage of NASCAR’s only Black driver at a racetrack in, of all places, Alabama in a week following the banning of the Confederate flag from the circuit’s tracks and on a day when a plane flew overhead and a caravan of trucks drove outside the track displaying that despicable symbol of slavery and oppression, is the problem.
Give me just a small break.
Like the Confederate flag, a noose is a symbol of hate. It is a reminder of when Black Americans were taken, beaten, mutilated and lynched, all because some despised them for the color of their skin.
Like a burning cross, a noose is a symbol meant to drive fear into the hearts of Black Americans.
While some are throwing around “I told you so” as a response to the ultimate findings of this particular investigation, I am relieved. I am glad to know this was not a directed attack at Mr. Wallace.
But I still have a question.
The investigation found the noose had been hanging on that garage door since October. NASCAR checked all 1,648 garage stalls at their tracks and 11 pull down ropes had been tied.
But the one at Talladega was the only one fashioned into a noose.
I must admit I was never a Boy Scout or a seaman, so I am not proficient at knot tying. So maybe I’m incorrect in thinking whoever decided a noose was the right idea gave it some thought and put forth tremendous effort to get it done.
Maybe they thought it was funny.
Maybe we’ll find out, maybe we won’t, but there is one question I have not heard asked: Why?