Cockburn was initially reticent to compare Wallace to Smollett. Wallace was not the one who initially found the ‘noose’, and was merely reacting to what his team told him. He did not manufacture the incident himself. But the fanfare that followed, despite an ongoing investigation that had yet to find evidence of a hate crime, wilted any sympathy. Drivers and team members pushed Wallace’s car to the front of the field ahead of Monday’s race at Talladega. The infield grass was painted with #IStandWithBubba. It was an outlandish show of ‘solidarity’ that only took place because just waiting for an investigation to conclude before commenting on an alleged hate crime would have earned NASCAR allegations of racism.
Then, even after the FBI concluded that the ‘noose’ was anything but, Wallace doubled down on his alleged victimhood. In a Tuesday night appearance with CNN’s Don Lemon, Wallace asserted, ‘From the evidence that we have…it’s a straight-up noose’. Never mind the 15 — yes, 15! — FBI special agents who investigated the incident. Wallace, despite never having seen the rope in person, believes it’s a noose, and therefore it’s a noose.
Wallace apparently got a taste of the fame that comes with being a professional victim and thought it was much sweeter than letting his racing do the talking. He finished 14th at Talladega.