Bubba Wallace 'relieved' rope in garage wasn't noose targeted at him, acknowledges 'embarrassment'
FOX NEWS - NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace tweeted out a statement on Wednesday about the supposed noose found in his garage, saying that he's "relieved" to know it wasn't meant for him, but embarrassed by the mixup after the FBI ended its hate crime investigation.
"It's been an emotional few days. First off, I want to say how relieved I am that the investigation revealed that this wasn't what we feared it was," he wrote. "I want to thank my team, NASCAR and the FBI for acting swiftly and treating this as a real threat.
RELATED: NASCAR: Noose found in Bubba Wallace's garage area at Talladega
"I think we'll gladly take a little embarrassment over what the alternatives could have been," Wallace continued. "Make no mistake, though some will try, this should not detract from the show of unity we had on Monday, and the progress we've made as a sport to be a more welcoming environment for all."
The FBI determined that the noose found in Wallace's garage at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday had been there since at least last year, according to the bureau.
A statement issued by U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town on Tuesday said the investigation had concluded and that no federal crime had been committed. This came after the entire NASCAR family showed support for Wallace following the discovery of the rope, with all his fellow drivers and their crews standing behind him before the Geico 500 on Monday.
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"The FBI learned that garage number 4, where the noose was found, was assigned to Bubba Wallace last week. The investigation also revealed evidence, including authentic video confirmed by NASCAR, that the noose found in garage number 4 was in that garage as early as October 2019," the bureau said. "Although the noose is now known to have been in garage number 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week."
Wallace -- the only full-time African-American NASCAR driver -- has made headlines in recent weeks for his vocal support of Black Lives Matter, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. He's also publicly supported NASCAR's banning of the Confederate flag from all association events.
RELATED: No charges in NASCAR noose incident involving Black driver Bubba Wallace
"The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime," NASCAR said in a release after the findings. "The FBI report concludes, and photographic evidence confirms, that the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall."
NASCAR President Steve Phelps responded to allegations circulating on social media about the noose being left there as a publicity stunt, saying that Wallace’s team had nothing to do with it. He added that NASCAR will continue to investigate the matter.
Wallace also addressed the controversy with CNN's Don Lemon on Tuesday night and said he was convinced the rope was a "straight-up noose."
"I’ve been racing all of my life," he said. "We've raced out of hundreds of garages that never had garage pulls like that. So people that want to call it a garage pull and put out all the videos and photos of knots being as their evidence, go ahead, but from the evidence that we have – and I have – it’s a straight-up noose."
Fox News' Brie Stimson and Gary Gastelu contributed to this report