NASCAR President Steve Phelps stopped the June 7th race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway before it started to address the drivers, teams, and fans about racism and the need for change in America. He called for a moment of reflection before the race commenced. Watch it on the video below.
In the second half of this video, drivers are seen in cameos to bring an additional message about unity. They all read from the same script. Bubba Wallace was one of those drivers.
Apparently Steve Phelps didn’t feel change wasn’t happening fast enough.
On June 10th, Phelps banned the Confederate flag from all NASCAR events. His statement read, “The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry. Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.”
The removal of the flag followed Bubba Wallace’s earlier comments on CNN that it was time to “get rid of the Confederate flags” at NASCAR races.
June 10th was the same day Wallace raced to the Martinsville Speedway with the #Black Lives Matter logo painted on his car that is owned by Richard Petty Motorsports.
Then on Sunday, June 21st, a “noose” was found in Bubba Wallace’s garage at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.
Anger and outrage were immediate. Responses were swift. Conclusions were jumped to.
The problem was that is wasn’t a noose, it was the small looped rope used to pull the garage door closed, and it had been there at least since last October. Still, people insisted it was a noose.
Steve Phelps announced the following day that whoever put the noose there “will be banned for life” from NASCAR events. Bubba Wallace condemned the incident on Twitter.
NASCAR launched an investigation that was coordinated by the FBI. Imagine everyone’s surprise and embarrassment when, after 15 FBI agents interviewed dozens of people, they concluded there was no hate crime because it was just a pull rope that had been there since last year. Several photos have since surfaced showing Wallace’s garage door with the same pull rope.
Isn’t it interesting that it was one of Wallace’s own team members who “found” the pull rope?
Isn’t it interesting that Bubba Wallace is affiliated with Black Lives Matter and had the logo painted on his car?
Isn’t it interesting that the NASCAR president had just recently called for change in American and banned the Confederate flag at races?
Isn’t it interesting that the pull rope had been in Bubba’s garage door, and the doors of many other drivers, for years?
Just like former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that, it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not before.”
So NASCAR and Black Lives Matter took the rope and ran with it.
But sometimes a pull rope is just a pull rope.
Image from: dailymail.co.uk