Bubba Wallace is the latest athlete to be mentioned in President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed, and the NASCAR driver addressed it in an interview on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” with guest host Anthony Anderson on Tuesday night.
Anderson, who stars in the TV show “Black-ish,” asked what it was like to be the target of the president’s negative attention after Trump baselessly accused him of perpetrating a hoax. He also asked Wallace to clarify yet again the events leading up to a noose being found in his garage at Talladega late last month.
Wallace: Trump should be focusing on other things
Wallace told Anderson that Trump should be worried about far bigger things.
“When I first read it, I was like, man there’s so much more things that are going on in the world that I feel like he should be worried about. It’s hard to get people to understand, especially when the facts are delivered on the table and they’ve been there for two weeks now. To be late to the party is one thing and to be wrong on the factual information is another.
“But all in all, he did get one thing right in his tweet though, the great officials that continue to stand behind me, NASCAR drivers and officials have continued to stand behind me through it all. He got that part right. It’s a great sport that I’m proud to be apart of.”
Wallace, 26, previously issued a statement after Trump, 74, baselessly accused him. He wrote that “love wins” in a note intended for the next generation of Black people. The only African American driver in the Cup Series, Wallace has been vocal since the death of George Floyd and helped get the Confederate flag banned from races.
Timeline of the noose in Wallace’s garage
The noose was first brought to the nation’s attention by NASCAR when the organization announced it was found in Wallace’s garage late on race day. The race was put in a rain-delay and pushed to Monday.
Wallace has repeatedly said he was not the one to find the noose, and did not report it. Trump tweeted demanding an apology from Wallace after what he incorrectly called a hoax, and his office doubled down tto the press.
Anderson again gave him an opportunity to share that story with a different audience segment. He said it was brought to his attention by NASCAR president Steve Phelps. When he texted an African American team member to check in on him, the team member played it off like he didn’t know, so he called him to make sure he was OK.
“He said, ‘Actually I’m the one who found it. I didn’t want to tell you and get your mind all messed up before the race. I wanted you to have a clear head,” Wallace said. ‘Again, wasn’t brought to my attention. It was brought to me hours later after the investigation was already going through. And then I woke up Monday morning to find out that I could potentially be talking to the FBI about it because it was in their hands now. Not once did I report it. I didn’t even see the picture of the noose, the garage pull until Tuesday after the race after I’m already home after my second phone call with the FBI.”
The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Alabama investigated and did not file federal charges since it found the noose had been there since October 2019. Wallace has said multiple times in interviews he agrees with the conclusion it was not a hate crime.
Wallace: Drivers ‘let their guard down’
Wallace commended his fellow drivers and how they’ve supported him. NASCAR drivers, officials and staff walked his No. 43 car up pit row the day after the noose was found in a powerful pre-race moment.
“That was a powerful moment there. Obviously you can see the emotion. I tried to walk out before that moment, I had just a ton of positive energy I felt like, that moment right there broke me, just totally put me in my feels and just showed the power, and the unity, love, compassion and understanding we have for another.”
He said they “let their guard down” and “showed their human side” in a statement of unity.
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