In the past few weeks, Wallace found himself in the center of the national conversation on race and sports. One issue that involves both is the use of the Confederate flag at NASCAR events. He says that if the flag hurts someone from the African-American community, that it should not be allowed.
“It just alienates people. I’m still educating myself on these issues just like everyone else,” Wallace wrote. “If you dive back deep, and read about the Confederacy — which I’m still learning about as well — you understand what those people were fighting for. People will say anything to defend it. But make no mistake: It was a war over slavery. It was about the South trying to keep their slaves. And you know what? They LOST! It’s the loser’s flag, is what’s funny.”
Wallace explains in the article he never viewed himself as an activist. However, following the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, Wallace writes it was “kind of like the final straw that broke the camel’s back.”
The No. 43 driver also addressed the noose incident from earlier this summer. He offered further details about the garage door rope pull that prompted an FBI investigation.
Before the Geico 500 at Talladega, a member of Wallace’s team discovered the rope pull. “My crew member was just sitting there talking with some guys in the garage stall,” Wallace wrote. “Usually, work might be happening, but at the time, there wasn’t much work to do. Guys are allowed to just show up and race now, so you’re not thrashing on the cars all day. At that time, they were all just kind of standing around talking, and I guess that’s when he saw it. The way he described it, it was just kind of like, Oh, wait a minute, what is that?“
While the FBI concluded that the incident was not a hate crime, Wallace says he continues to face backlash. “The minute I spoke out about removing the Confederate flag from NASCAR, I knew I was putting a target on my back,” he wrote. “That certain people would be looking for any little thing to discredit me, no matter the facts.”
[H/T The Players Tribune]