Joy: Bubba Wallace Didn't Do Anything Wrong

People criticizing Bubba Wallace and NASCAR for their response to the noose incident are wrong, Mike Joy says

Zach Gelb
June 25, 2020 - 6:55 am

Earlier this week, the FBI investigated a possible hate crime against Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in NASCAR’s top series. Fortunately, it appears the hate crime did not occur.

Still, it doesn’t take away from NASCAR’s response to the incident, as drivers stood with Wallace prior to the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama on Monday in an incredible moment of solidarity.

“I still think it’s very significant that not just some of the drivers or some of the teams, but that the whole garage area, rallied around Bubba and showed their unity and support,” Fox Sports auto racing broadcaster Mike Joy said on The Zach Gelb Show. “What we thought we knew was that a noose was hanging in Bubba’s garage, and that was, indeed, true. Don’t know who did it, don’t know why they did it. The team that occupied the garage stall last October, a team member remembered seeing it, but they said they didn’t do it, that it was here when they got there. I guess that was the good part of the news.”

Despite the good news, many critics felt the entire incident was contrived – and have blasted Wallace and NASCAR accordingly.

Joy finds this theory ridiculous.

“Bubba had nothing to do with this,” Joy said. “The drivers are not even allowed in the garage before the race starts . . . because of the pandemic. I guess the only remaining question is did NASCAR overreact? I think had this been any other time and place, you might say yes. But given the optics of NASCAR recently banning the Confederate flag from its properties, a plane flying over Talladega towing a Confederate banner flag and a banner that said, ‘Defund NASCAR – [and there were] demonstrators . . . with Confederate flags. So when the team member saw that rope hanging with a noose, he went to his crew chief, who went to NASCAR. I think it was an appropriate response given the time, given the environment and given the situation as a whole. I’m just very glad to find out that no one in that garage area this past weekend created that.”

Curt Schilling compared Wallace to Jussie Smollett, who staged a racist and homophobic attack against himself in January 2019. Wallace, meanwhile, is frustrated that people are questioning his integrity.

“I think the people coming up with that were predisposed in one direction or another because Bubba never saw it; Bubba never went in the garage,” Joy said. “He was told by NASCAR what was hanging there, and NASCAR was telling him the truth. It was a rope, the end of which was tied in a noose. That was fact. Did everybody jump to conclusions? I think everybody kind of took the situation as a whole and applied a defensive position, saying we need to get to the bottom of this.”