Bubba Wallace Defends Himself Against Critics Calling Noose Incident a Hoax: “Whether Tied in 2019 or Whatever, It Was a Noose”
- After a noose was found in NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s team garage stall, the FBI concluded that it was being used as a door pull rope and had been there since last October, before Wallace began using that garage.
- After news of the FBI’s findings was released to the public, claims that Wallace had committed a Jussie Smollett-style hoax began to trend on social media.
- However, Wallace never saw the noose outside of investigation photos and wasn’t the person who found or reported it.
- “Whether tied in 2019, or whatever, it was a noose,” Wallace said on Tuesday.
- NASCAR has also indicated that it will continue its investigation to determine why that noose was acting as a garage pull in the first place.
FBI Determines Noose Was A Door Pull
Two days after an apparent noose was found in the team garage stall of NASCAR driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has concluded that no one committed a hate crime against him.
According to the agency, the noose was a garage door rope pull that had been there since October 2019; however, Wallace’s team didn’t begin using that garage until last week. Because of that, the FBI also determined that “nobody could have known” that Wallace’s team would be assigned to that stall.
Following on the heels of the FBI’s report, NASCAR issued a statement saying that the rope pull that was being used had been “fashioned like a noose.”
That noose-shaped rope pull was found Sunday by a member of Wallace’s No. 43 team. Notably, Wallace never saw that noose or rope pull outside of photos from the investigation. In fact, drivers aren’t even allowed in their garages right now in order to properly social distance from their teams.
The incident, as well as its timing, led to massive public outcry Sunday evening. Part of that is because of the ongoing protests over racial injustice, but another part was because of a protest happening outside Sunday’s planned race at the Talladega SuperSpeedway in Alabama.
That race was the first NASCAR event since the coronavirus shutdown that fans were able to attend. Prior to that, Wallace—who’s the only black driver for NASCAR’s top series—pushed to have NASCAR ban the display of the Confederate Flag from events. On June 10, it agreed and prohibited fans from displaying the symbol within its stadiums.
While fans largely followed that rule on Sunday, outside of the stadium, hundreds of people protested and waved that flag.
Soon after that came the reports of that noose being found in Wallace’s garage stall. From there, NASCAR and the FBI in conjunction with the Justice Department launched separate investigations.
“We appreciate the FBI’s quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba,” NASCAR said in its statement Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters, NASCAR President Steve Phelps echoed that statement, saying:
“For us at NASCAR, this is the best result we could hope for. It was disturbing to hear it was thought that one of our own had committed this heinous act. It is fantastic to hear from the FBI definitively that there was not a hate crime.”
Phelps added that NASCAR plans to continue its investigation, with that probe focusing on why the rope was fashioned into a noose and why it was even in that garage stall in the first place.
Phelps also told reporters that even with the information now known, NASCAR took the proper steps in handling the situation.
“I want to be clear about the 43 team,” he said. The 43 team had nothing to do with this. The evidence is very clear that the noose that was in that garage had been in the garage previously. The last race we had had there in October, that noose was present.”
“The fact that it was not found until a member of the 43 team came there is something that is a fact,” he added. The crew member went back in there. He looked and saw the noose, brought it to the attention of his crew chief, who then went to the NASCAR series director, Jay Fabian, and we launched this investigation.”
#BubbaSmollett and Hoax Accusations
Despite Phelp’s firm assurance that no foul play was involved from Wallace or his team, others have compared Wallace to actor Jussie Smollet, who was charged with six counts of falsifying police reports after an alleged hate crime against him last year.
Tuesday night, after the FBI finding became public, #BubbaSmollett trended on Twitter. There, many floated the theory that the noose was a hoax, implying that Wallace orchestrated the incident to boost his career.
Others also shared photos and videos of that garage, pointing out what they assumed to be the rope pull in question.
Wallace Defends Himself Against Criticism
In an interview with Don Lemon on CNN Tuesday night, Wallace defended himself against those claiming he was involved in planting the noose.
“I’m pissed,” the driver said. “I’m mad because people are trying to test my character and the person that I am and my integrity and they’re not stealing that away from me, but they’re just trying to test that.”
Wallace then went on to add that he was first told about a noose being found in his garage by Phelps, who described the incident to Wallace as a “hate crime.”
Even though the FBI has said that Wallace wasn’t the target of a hate crime, Wallace still asserted that the rope pull in question was a noose.
“Don, the image that I have and that I have seen of what was hanging in my garage is not a garage pull,” Wallace said. “I’ve been racing all my life. We’ve raced out of hundreds of garages that never had garage pulls like that. So People that want to call it a garage-pull, and put out old videos and photos of knots, as their evidence, go ahead. But from the evidence that we have, that I have, it’s a straight-up noose.”
“It was a noose. It was a noose that whether tied in 2019 or whatever, it was a noose,” he added. “So it wasn’t directed at me, but somebody tied a noose, that’s what I am saying.”
Drivers and Other Supporters Defend Wallace From Hoax Allegations
Like Phelps, others with NASCAR have continued to support Wallace and the reaction from the association after that noose was found.
“I’m relieved to hear this wasn’t a hate crime and I’m still so proud of how our sport came together yesterday,” driver Jimmie Johnson said on Tuesday.
NASCAR reporter Marty Smith, whose Sunday night response to the noose finding went viral, called the FBI’s conclusion “the best possible news.”
I am so happy for @BubbaWallace & @NASCAR that there was no hate crime, or any ill will,” Smith said on Twitter. “That is wonderful.”
“And the display of unity, togetherness, courage and commitment that I saw Monday from the garage will forever be one of the most beautiful moments of solidarity I’ve witnessed. Brothers caring for brothers.”
Others like IndyCar Driver JR Hildebrand directly called out people comparing Wallace to Jussie Smollett.
“Quick PSA that I hope will save me from wasting time going HAM in my replies: There are ways to have been skeptical about this situation without being racist or an asshole. Calling Bubba Wallace Jussie Smollett is not one of them.”
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (ESPN) (Deadspin)
White Supremacist Propaganda Reached Record High in 2022, ADL Finds
“We cannot sit idly by as these extremists pollute our communities with their hateful trash,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said.
White supremacist propaganda in the U.S. reached record levels in 2022, according to a report published Wednesday by the Anti-Defamation League’s Center of Extremism.
The ADL found over 6,700 cases of white supremacist propaganda in 2022, which marks a 38% jump from the nearly 4,900 cases the group found in 2021. It also represents the highest number of incidents ever recorded by the ADL.
The propaganda tallied by the anti-hate organization includes the distribution of racist, antisemitic, and homophobic flyers, banners, graffiti, and more. This propaganda has spread substantially since 2018, when the ADL found just over 1,200 incidents.
“There’s no question that white supremacists and antisemites are trying to terrorize and harass Americans with their propaganda,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “We cannot sit idly by as these extremists pollute our communities with their hateful trash.”
The report found that there were at least 50 white supremacist groups behind the spread of propaganda in 2022, but 93% of it came from just three groups. One of those groups was also responsible for 43% of the white supremacist events that took place last year.
White supremacist events saw a startling uptick of their own, with the ADL documenting at least 167, a 55% jump from 2021.
Propaganda was found in every U.S. state except for Hawaii, and events were documented in 33 states, most heavily in Massachusetts, California, Ohio, and Florida.
“The sheer volume of white supremacist propaganda distributions we are documenting around the country is alarming and dangerous,” Oren Segal, Vice President of the ADL’s Center on Extremism said in a statement. “Hardly a day goes by without communities being targeted by these coordinated, hateful actions, which are designed to sow anxiety and create fear.”
“We need a whole-of-society approach to combat this activity, including elected officials, community leaders, and people of good faith coming together and condemning this activity forcefully,” Segal continued.
See what others are saying: (Axios) (The Hill) (The New York Times)
Adidas Financial Woes Continue, Company on Track for First Annual Loss in Decades
Adidas has labeled 2023 a “transition year” for the company.
Adidas’ split with musician Kanye West has left the company with financial problems due to surplus Yeezy products, putting the sportswear giant in the position to potentially suffer its first annual loss in over 30 years.
Adidas dropped West last year after he made a series of antisemitic remarks on social media and other broadcasts. His Yeezy line was a staple for Adidas, and the surplus product is due, in part, to the brand’s own decision to continue production during the split.
According to CEO Bjorn Gulden, Adidas continued production of only the items already in the pipeline to prevent thousands of people from losing their jobs. However, that has led to the unfortunate overabundance of Yeezy sneakers and clothes.
On Wednesday, Gulden said that selling the shoes and donating the proceeds makes more sense than giving them away due to the Yeezy resale market — which has reportedly shot up 30% since October.
“If we sell it, I promise that the people who have been hurt by this will also get something good out of this,” Gulden said in a statement to the press.
However, Gulden also said that West is entitled to a portion of the proceeds of the sale of Yeezys per his royalty agreement.
Adidas announced in February that, following its divergence from West, it is facing potential sales losses totaling around $1.2 billion and profit losses of around $500 million.
If it decides to not sell any more Yeezy products, Adidas is facing a projected annual loss of over $700 million.
Outside of West, Adidas has taken several heavy profit blows recently. Its operating profit reportedly fell by 66% last year, a total of more than $700 million. It also pulled out of Russia after the country’s invasion of Ukraine last year, which cost Adidas nearly $60 million dollars. Additionally, China’s “Zero Covid” lockdowns last year caused in part a 36% drop in revenue for Adidas compared to years prior.
As a step towards a solution, Gulden announced that the company is slashing its dividends from 3.30 euros to 0.70 euro cents per share pending shareholder approval.
Adidas has labeled 2023 a “transition year” for the company.
“Adidas has all the ingredients to be successful. But we need to put our focus back on our core: product, consumers, retail partners, and athletes,” Gulden said. “I am convinced that over time we will make Adidas shine again. But we need some time.”
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (CNN)
Immigration Could Be A Solution to Nursing Home Labor Shortages
98% of nursing homes in the United States are experiencing difficulty hiring staff.
The Labor Crisis
A recent National Bureau of Economic Research paper has offered up a solution to the nursing home labor shortage: immigration.
According to a 2022 American Health Care Association survey, six in ten nursing homes are limiting new patients due to staffing issues. The survey also says that 87% of nursing homes have staffing shortages and 98% are experiencing difficulty hiring.
The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) outlined in their paper that increased immigration could help solve the labor shortage in nursing homes. Immigrants make up 19% of nursing home workers.
With every 10% increase in female immigration, nursing assistant hours go up by 0.7% and registered nursing hours go up by 1.1% And with that same immigration increase, short-term hospitalizations of nursing home residents go down by 0.6%.
Additionally, the State Department issued 145% more EB-3 documents, which are employment-based visas, for healthcare workers in the 2022 fiscal year than in 2019, suggesting that more people are coming to the U.S. to work in health care.
However, according to Skilled Nursing News, in August of 2022, the approval process from beginning to end for an RN can take between seven to nine months.
Displeasure about immigration has exploded since Pres. Joe Biden took office in 2021. According to a Gallup study published in February, around 40% of American adults want to see immigration decrease. That is a steep jump from 19% in 2021, and it is the highest the figure has been since 2016.
However, more than half of Democrats still are satisfied with immigration and want to see it increased. But with a divided Congress, the likelihood of any substantial immigration change happening is pretty slim.