News & Politics

NASCAR Releases Photo of Fake Racist 'Noose' But Will Require Sensitivity Training Anyway

AP Photo/John Bazemore

On the day that NASCAR released a photo of the “noose” found in driver Bubba Wallace’s garage at Talledega Superspeedway, the racing corporation has also announced that all employees will be required to undergo sensitivity training – and be put under video surveillance.

You’ll recall that NASCAR’S president, Steve Phelps, immediately called Bubba Wallace, who’s black, in tears, blubbering an apology for the noose, assuming the worst about his own employees and those at the Talledega Superspeedway, as well as NASCAR team members.

Wallace took the cue: He must be a victim of a hate crime.

An investigation by 15 FBI agents into the noose discovery showed quickly that there was no hate crime. In fact, the “noose” was a rope handle to pull down those annoying roller-type garage doors that you see at storage units. You know, the ones that come with the ropes that help you pull them down?

Then Wallace went on CNN’s Don Lemon program – even after he knew it was NOT a hate crime –  to complain that he’d been the victim of a non-hate-crime-hate-crime.

Don Lemon nodded his approval.

No one in media, who live in D.C. and the NYC, had one second of reflection on whether it was a noose. It’s NASCAR, people. Good old boys, Bubbas, and beer. White people! Of course it was a racist attack!

An apology tour was had, complete with a march of shame for something that did not happen.

But it was great PR, complete with all the feels.

Phelps issued a statement, which basically admitted that the NASCAR president jumped to conclusions and assumed the worst. He blamed the “highly charged and emotional time” for throwing his entire NASCAR industry under the luxury motor coaches lined up at the superspeedway.

NASCAR’s President ‘Alleged’

No, of course he didn’t put it that way.

Instead, he admitted that he should have used the word “alleged” from the start/finish line.

We’re living in a highly charged and emotional time. What we saw was a symbol of hate and was only present in one area of the garage and that was of the 43 car of Bubba Wallace. In hindsight, I should have used the word ‘alleged’ in our statement.

As you can see from the photo, the noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba.

Here’s the noose attached to the garage door to effect its closure.

Now, I’m no noose expert, but don’t you have to have a slip-knot aspect of this for it to be a hanging noose? You know, the ones the Democrats and their shock troops in the Ku Klux Klan used on Republicans and blacks in the South?

NASCAR President’s Assumptions Bring Pain to Everyone

But, because Phelps had a frisson of fear over his industry, which he believes must be full of raaaaacists, he’s put all of NASCAR on notice.

This must have been his internal dialog:

You guys are all going to be put into sensitivity training. Sure, I know half of you spend time at children’s hospitals loving on kids and putting money into literacy programs for the underprivileged, but NASCAR came out of the South and even though we just wanted to run moonshine and get away from the revenuers we must be racist. Someone. Somewhere. Now, where’s a statue we can tear down?

I had a boss once who was so conflicted and confused in the workplace that he made everyone else undergo training to “walk in each others’ shoes.” It cost thousands and thousands of dollars for this training. In the end, it would have been a helluvalot cheaper if he’d just gone to church and introduced himself to Jesus rather than putting us through his psychological gymnastics.

Which brings us to Phelps again.

The NASCAR chief has put all of his employees and teams on notice that they will have to undergo sensitivity and “unconscious bias” training and – this is important – be put under video surveillance, all because he jumped to conclusions.

NASCAR’s statement said in part:

Phelps outlined specific steps NASCAR would take moving forward. It includes sensitivity and unconscious bias training for all members of the industry, additional, thorough sweeps through the garage areas and installation of additional cameras in all garages.

Somebody is going to make bank off this. Queue up now for that gig.

Phelps vowed never to have noose-like ropes used at any NASCAR speedways ever again.

In fact, there really aren’t that many, which he noted in his statement:

Following Sunday’s discovery, NASCAR officials asked each track to sweep through their respective garages. Across the 1,684 garage stalls at 29 tracks, NASCAR found only 11 total that had a pull-down rope tied in a knot and only one noose — the one discovered Sunday in the No. 43 garage stall.

That “noose” in Wallace’s garage had been there for a year and was used by several drivers, none of whom made the “racist” connection. It took one “woke” NASCAR employee who saw the optics, and instead of changing out the rope, or putting a handle on it, as you might a piece of exercise equipment, he went to the boss and emoted.

Now there will never again be knotted ropes that could be perceived as nooses allowed at any NASCAR speedway ever, ever, again.

“Our ultimate conclusion for this investigation is to ensure that this never happens again, that no one walks by a noose without recognizing the potential damage it can do,” Phelps said. “Going forward, our efforts are best spent on making sure every competitor feels safe and every guest feels welcome. I would also like to reinforce that what we did see at Talladega in pre-race on Monday, our drivers, crews and officials proudly demonstrated that we are united in the belief that there is no place for racism in our sport.”

Maybe the knot-tying Navy and Boy Scouts are next.

Phelps said that “as you can see from the photo, the noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba.”

But here’s the clincher. He basically said that even though there was nothing to this, wasn’t our response to this non-hate-crime really wonderful?

With similar emotion, others across our industry and our media stood up to defend the NASCAR family. Our NASCAR family. Because they are part of the NASCAR family, too. We are proud to see so many stand up for what’s right.

Translation: we weren’t as racist as I wrongly thought we were.

Where’s the apology for that assumption, Steve Phelps?

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