The stunning, nausea-inducing news that someone left a noose in Bubba Wallace's garage stall at Talladega broke late last Sunday night. It shattered the momentum of what's felt like an Earth-moving two-week stretch in NASCAR in which Wallace, the circuit's only black driver, led the charge to eliminate the confederate flag from events.
ESPN's Marty Smith reported on and reacted to the incident with Scott Van Pelt on SportsCenter. He had plenty of righteous anger.
"This sport is in a moment where this crap, this despicable crap, is not only not acceptable, but there’s just no place for it," Smith said. "And whomever that is, I hope that you are so ashamed of yourself. I hope that you realize that is someone’s dignity and that is someone’s positioning in this sport, who has earned his place by talent and by hard work."
He continued: "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. 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."
Wallace's fellow drivers have been quick to publicly support him and share their own anger at the reprehensible act. He himself has made it clear that he won't be deterred by the actions of the small-minded. Smith and others are going to keep speaking up when the inevitable speed bumps to progress come around the bend. Take all those as signs of optimism for a better future.