How many Americans knew who NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace was prior to the last two weeks?
Not many. But today, he is the most famous driver in the sport. Not because of driving a spectacular race, but rather his public embrace of Black Lives Matter and-- even more newsworthy-- his allegation that a noose was found hanging in his Talladega garage last weekend.
The claim that a noose was placed in the sport’s only full-time racer’s garage was met with disdain by many in the country that saw the incident as proof that racism must still be prevalent in the sport. If someone had the nerve to put a noose in his garage, is Wallace even safe at races?
Fellow drivers and the sport were quick to condemn the incident and vowed a full investigation. NASCAR just recently announced that Confederate flags would not be allowed at races.
Wallace did the standard media tour: CNN, a stop at ABC’s“The View,” on Tuesday where he said doubters of his claim were “simple-minded people like that, the ones that are afraid of change, they use everything in their power to defend what they stand up for…instead of trying to listen and understand what’s going on.”
But a team of 15 FBI agents that worked quickly to get to the bottom of the case that drew national attention determined that the noose was in his garage since October—and before his occupancy— which proved no crime was committed and he was not a victim of a hate crime.
The fallout from the FBI’s investigation was swift by conservative pundits on social media. They compared Wallace to Jussie Smollet, the actor who is accused of lying to Chicago police about being the target of a racist and homophobic attack. These commenters said Wallace’s “hoax” took away from the legitimate focus on equality.
But Buck Sexton, the host of “The Buck Sexton Show,” said Wednesday that despite the backlash, “this will be a career win for Bubba Wallace.”
“People are going to call him names and they’re going to say he’s a bad guy and he’s going to be more marketable, more valuable brand. That’s it. That’s how this plays out. This is how it happens.”
Sexton pointed to the career of the NFL’s Colin Kaepernick, who was on the downslope of his career, and then took a knee and-- voila!-- he’s a hero with mega endorsement deals.
Sexton said Wallace is going to emerge from this a “bigger name” and “make more money and essentially be unfireable.”
The noose allegation has allowed Wallace to enter an exclusive group of celebrities.
“That’s it,” he said. “That’s how this plays out.”