Bubba Wallace was greeted with loud booing from those in attendance at NASCAR’s Cup Series All-Star Race at Bristol, Tennessee this week.
Things didn’t improve for Wallace once the race began either. The sport’s lone full-time black driver crashed into a wall, after which the crowd cheered. Moreover, there were several confederate flags visible in and around the raceway. Flying in defiance of Wallace’s and NASCAR’s demand that the flags be removed from all official events.
Here’s how it sounded when Wallace was introduced.
Bubba Wallace got booed. pic.twitter.com/natSFrQu4C
— Richard (@Wildman_AZ) July 17, 2020
As the AP’s Jenna Fryer reports:
Bubba Wallace was also booed when he was introduced, and many cheered when he crashed. NASCAR still has a lot of work to do to back up its position. The group Justice 4 Diversity held signs along Speedway Blvd. after the race.
— Jenna Fryer (@JennaFryer) July 16, 2020
Despite the booing at hearing Wallace’s name and the cheering upon watching his crash, the booing from the fans likely had less to do with the driver’s stances on social issues and more to do with his harsh characterization of NASCAR fans who were dubious, (correctly, as it turns out) of Wallace’s contention that someone had placed a noose in his garage with racial intent.
In June, an FBI investigation concluded that no hate crime had occurred because the “noose” in Wallace’s garage was in fact a garage pull handle that had been in place long before anyone could have known Wallace would use that garage. In response to claims from some fans that the noose incident had been staged, Wallace accused some NASCAR fans of being “simple minded,” not taking the time to “educate” themselves, and being quick to “jump to a conclusion.”
He also claimed that those fans view their job as being “always to deliver hate.”
Wallace was ripped on social media for the remarks and those remarks probably inspired much of the cheering and booing the driver received at Bristol this week.
In a more recent interview with Desus & Mero talk show on Showtime, Wallace defended NASCAR fans against the stereotype that they are all racists.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn