The racist incident that hit NASCAR on Sunday drew a lot of reactions. Marty Smith, who has covered the sport for ESPN since 2006, offered an emotional one following NASCAR’s announcement that a noose was found in Bubba Wallace Jr.’s garage at Talladega Superspeedway, calling the incident “despicable crap.”
“He stood up for something he believed and he asked for help from other people who believe similarly,” Smith said on “SportsCenter” Sunday night. “The measures we’re taking to start taking those steps — and then we come down here to a place that I love. I love Talladega, Alabama. It’s my favorite place on the NASCAR tour. It’s my favorite race. I love the staff here. And then some — I’m about to say words I’m not allowed to say. Something like this happens in the garage area, in the garage area of Richard Petty’s race car?
“For a young man in Bubba Wallace, who has galvanized so many people because he was willing to stand up for something that is so long overdue, and NASCAR’s current management level, executive level agrees that it was time to take this stand, and somebody goes and does this. You’re not just hurting one or two people, whomever you are. You’re hurting a whole lot of people who have made the decision that it is damn sure time to go be better, and it pisses me the hell off. And it pisses everybody else in the sport off who care, who care not only for Bubba, but for every single person that he is standing up for. And I am so sorry that we even have to have this discussion tonight.”
Wallace, NASCAR’s only full-time black driver, had driven with a “Black Lives Matter” insignia on his car and had played a significant role in NASCAR banning the use of Confederate flags at its events.
“I was really thrilled that all of the fans who made their way into the race track today, did so without any confederate flag memorabilia, or clothing, or anything stashed,” Smith said. “Anything like that. They came to see the sport we all love so much. And then someone who had access to the garage area does this s–t. I am so — I’m just so frustrated by it.”