NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace landed a sponsorship from Columbia Sportswear, which cited his “fortitude, courage, conviction around what he is standing up for” — a seeming reference to the noose hoax and Wallace’s overall voice on social justice issues.
“With COVID there’s not a lot of sports that have been on and with popular culture and everything Bubba has stood up for, we had really been watching him as he rose to national attention,” Joe Boyle, Columbia Brand president said in a statement to The Associated Press.
“Everything he stood for, in terms of his fortitude, courage, conviction around what he is standing up for, that’s what really Columbia has stood up for all these years, as well,” he added.
Even though Boyle praised the driver’s activism, he claimed that is not, solely, what triggered the sponsorship from the outdoor lifestyle brand.
“It wasn’t the (activism) that stood out for us, it was that he grew up in the outdoors,” he explained. “His favorite activities to do outside the track is photography, hiking, biking, golf — it’s just a natural fit.”
Wallace, NASCAR’s only full-time black driver, rose to the national spotlight after claiming to discover a “noose” in his garage at Talladega Superspeedway. The allegation triggered an investigation from the FBI, which determined that there was no such “hate crime.” Rather, the “noose” was nothing more than a garage door pull rope which had been there since last October.
Despite the FBI’s conclusion, Wallace largely refused to relent.
“It was a noose. It was a noose that — whether tied in 2019 or whatever, it was a noose. So, it wasn’t directed at me. But somebody tied a noose,” he said following the FBI’s findings.
He told Fox News in June:
But at the end of the day, I wouldn’t have changed anything. NASCAR, I felt like I did the right thing, you know, in the shape of a noose. It, in fact, was a noose. Everybody has seen the image now, so to say we would go back and do things differently, I don’t think so. Maybe word things differently? Yes, but I would – I would launch an investigation. I would have NASCAR or follow NASCAR’s judgment on it again.
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) July 6, 2020
Wallace also landed an endorsement deal with Beats by Dre following the noose controversy.