Bubba Wallace, NASCAR's only Black driver at the Cup Series level, has had to respond to all types of claims that the investigation into a noose found in his garage was fabricated. On Monday, he responded to a "hoax" claim directly from President Donald Trump. Trump tweeted about Wallace and asked the driver to issue an apology for the incident, and added that NASCAR's decision to ban the Confederate Flag from races has "caused the lowest ratings ever."
Wallace sent out a response encouraging love over hate. The No. 43 driver captioned the tweet, "To the next generation and little ones following my foot steps..#LoveWins."
Here's his message:
"Your words and actions will always be held to a higher standard than others. You have to be prepared for that. You don't learn these things in school. You learn them from trials and tribulations, the ups and downs this crazy world provides. You will always have people testing you. Seeing if they can knock you off your pedestal. I encourage you to keep your head held high and walk proudly on the path you have chosen. Never let anybody tell you [you] can't do something! God put us all here for a reason. Find that reason and be proud of it and work your tails off every day towards it! All the haters are doing is elevating your voice and platform to much greater heights! Last thing, always deal with the hate being thrown at you with LOVE! Love over hate every day. Love should some naturally as people are TAUGHT to hate. Even when it's HATE from the POTUS. Love wins"
NASCAR also responded to Trump's tweet:
"We are proud to have Bubba Wallace in the NASCAR family and we commend his courage and leadership. NASCAR continues to stand tall with Bubba, our competitors and everyone who makes our sport welcoming and inclusive for all racing fans," they said in a statement.
Richard Petty Motorsports owner Andrew Murstein called out the president for a "misinformed tweet." He also complimented Wallace, saying, "Bubba has reacted in a truthful, professional, level headed and positive manner. The NASCAR community, and those in the know all stand by him."
.@RPMotorsports owner Andrew Murstein: "I find it hard to believe that the President would send out such a misinformed tweet. ... Bubba has reacted in a truthful, professional, level headed and positive manner. The NASCAR commmunity, and those in the know all stand by him." pic.twitter.com/qWuIAuU3lT— Adam Stern (@A_S12) July 6, 2020
Other drivers and athletes have reacted to Trump's "hoax" claim and Wallace's response, as well.
LeBron James wrote, "Right HERE too with you!! As well as the next generation who follows in my foot steps! Kings and Queens."
Jimmie Johnson tweeted out a graphic that simply read, "IStandWithBubba."
Fellow NASCAR Cup Series driver Tyler Reddick tweeted a response quoting Trump's tweet, writing "We don't need an apology. We did what was right and we will do just fine without your support." Reddick has since deleted the post.
Since NASCAR's return on May 17, FOX's NASCAR ratings are up 8% and NBC's rating for the Indianapolis race was up 46% from last year's event at Indy, according to information provided by NASCAR.
After a rope was found tied like a noose at Wallace's garage at Talladega Superspeedway ahead of last month's Geico 500, NASCAR launched an investigation along with the FBI. The FBI found no hate crime was committed and the rope had been tied as a noose since last year. After the FBI made that announcement, NASCAR president Steve Phelps said that following a sweep of garages at all 29 NASCAR Cup Series racks, the only noose found was the one at Bubba Wallace's garage at Talladega
NASCAR has been outspoken about racial justice and inequality in the sport and in the country. In early June, the Confederate flag was banned from all events after Wallace called on NASCAR to remove them. Following the noose investigation, Wallace, who was not the one who spotted or reported the rope, said he was grateful no message of hate was committed and was thankful that his fellow drivers rallied around him and around the movements he was bringing attention to.