In a perfect world, it would both easy and preferable to ignore the profoundly stupid and offensive things that enter your periphery on a daily basis.
Such deliberate ignorance currently isn’t an option, however.
As you might’ve heard, a noose was found Sunday afternoon in Darrell Wallace Jr.’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway. NASCAR, in conjunction with the Birmingham, Ala., FBI office, since has launched an investigation into an incident that has sparked outrage from across the sports world.
Of course, there are those who can’t possibly believe that something like this would happen, that either someone planted the noose or that it never happened at all. Some even believe Wallace — who was informed about the situation after one of his crew members discovered the noose during a rain dealy — set the whole thing up. NASCAR president Steve Phelps addressed those theories during a conference call with reporters Monday afternoon.
Here’s what he said:
NASCAR president Steve Phelps on people who think Bubba Wallace incident was staged:
"That is something that personally offends me. This is a terrible, terrible act that has happened and those who would think that this is staged, I don’t even know where to go with that, frankly."
— Dakota Randall (@DakRandall) June 22, 2020
Phelps, citing the ongoing investigation, wasn’t able to offer many new details. He reiterated NASCAR’s commitment to eradicating racism from the sport, and promised to bring justice to the person who committed the “vile act.”
“Unequivocally they will be banned from this sport for life,” he said.
As for any potential leads, Phelps refused to speculate. However, when asked whether a fan could’ve breached infield security and made their way into Wallace’s garage, Phelps clarified that only “essential personnel” had access to the area.
“I can’t say no (there couldn’t have been a breach) for certain,” Phelps said. “The security around getting into the footprint (of the garage area) is significant. We have it limited just to essential personnel. Security is very tight getting in and out of the footprint.”
Phelps also declined to go into detail about how many cameras were around Wallace’s stall. He again stressed that the FBI’s investigation is in an early, fact-finding stage.
Security around Wallace will be heightened for Monday’s race, according to Phelps. The Geico 500, which was postponed from Sunday to Monday due to severe weather, is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. ET, weather permitting.