Thursday, June 25, 2020

Everyone Wins

It was a big story over the weekend. However, now it’s little more than filler for cable news because

The FBI has determined that a noose found in NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace's garage at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday had been there since at least last year, according to the bureau.

A statement issued by U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town said that an investigation has concluded that no federal crime was committed.

"The FBI learned that garage number 4, where the noose was found, was assigned to Bubba Wallace last week. The investigation also revealed evidence, including authentic video confirmed by NASCAR, that the noose found in garage number 4 was in that garage as early as October 2019," the bureau said. "Although the noose is now known to have been in garage number 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week."

Of course, no one could have. Yet, a crew member for Richard Petty Motorsports, IQ presumably at least in the double digits, found it and reported to the NASCAR, which notified the FBI. The league reported it despite a) the "noose" being situated in a likely place for a door handle; and b) the "noose" situated low to the ground, which would  make it difficult to hang someone over 24" tall.

Maybe the crew member merely and NASCAR used bad judgement. If so, at 6'1", 160 pounds, and a longtime member of the AARP, I am being recruited by the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks.

This was not mere error. Following the discovery of the door pull noose

NASCAR drivers, pit crew members and others on Monday marched in solidarity with Bubba Wallace, in the wake of a racist incident that targeted the only full-time Black driver in the sport’s elite Cup Series.

The moving moment occurred ahead of the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, which was broadcast Monday afternoon on Fox Sports.

Wallace hugged some of the drivers at the "momentous occasion." However, that "right side of history" turns out to have been misplaced outrage at an unknown someone who put up a door pull in Bubba Wallace's garage. Nonetheless, it did gain NASCAR great publicity in its effort to erase its past- and present- as a league dominated by very conservative white men and women, some with sympathies for the Confederacy. But good publicity is priceless and can overcome almost any inconvenient image. Let Bubba Wallace himself explain:

Report a rope pull to the FBI as racial intimidation, put on an inspiring demonstration, then congratulate yourself for "progress we've made as a sport to be a more welcoming environment for all."

Someone is pulling not only a door handle, but wool over our eyes.  People with a sense of humility would say "we're sorry, it was an honest mistake." The absence of humility suggests this was no blunder.  NASCAR and Bubba Wallace come out of this smelling like roses, the one as a subject of great sympathy, the other as a league devoted to the rights of black Americans at a time when sympathy for the Confederacy is bad business.

The NASCAR desperately needed an image makeover and Bubba Wallace was well-situated to assist the business and simultaneously elevate his own prominence. Nonetheless, this may be on the level, a reasonable response to a hostile, racist threat with everyone well-intentioned.  And I expect that call any day now from the Milwaukee Bucks.

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