Athletes for Impact, a nonprofit group that includes Michael Bennett, Sue Bird, Megan Rapinoe and Diana Taurasi, published an open letter of support to NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace on Friday.
The group, which includes a roster of basketball players, football players and Olympians, describes itself as a “an inclusive and global network of athletes committed to change” on a myriad of social issues.
In the letter, the group applauds Wallace for speaking out over the last month. NASCAR’s only Black driver racing full-time has strongly supported NASCAR’s Confederate flag ban and voiced his support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
For some of us, we have never identified as NASCAR fans. Probably because it never felt like a space that would welcome athletes of color. Yet for years you have persevered and found success. Now, in the wake of your brave move to proudly stand with the Movement for Black Lives and against racism not just in your sport, but in our country, we want you to know that we stand with you.
Many of us know what it’s like to feel like the only one – the only one who looks like us in our sport, the only one at the table, or the only one in a moment who is willing to risk it all and speak out – or kneel. The collective response by other drivers to the news you were given about a noose hanging in your garage was beautiful – and your courage to race in that moment and embrace the opportunity to speak your truth was admirable, but the racist backlash you’re now facing is wrong. Know that you are not facing it alone.
We stand with you, Bubba.
If they come for one of us, they come for all of us. We will not stand by and allow any athlete who takes a stand for freedom to be singled out or punished. We vow to use our influence and collective power to support you as a person and as an athlete and to stand with you on the side of truth and an inclusive NASCAR and America.
Athletes for Impact
Wallace has dealt with a lot of grief over the past week after NASCAR said a noose had been discovered in his team’s garage stall at Talladega on Sunday. Tuesday, federal investigators said that no charges would be filed because the noose had been in the stall since October.
Thursday, NASCAR said that the only garage stall with a rope tied like a noose at any of its 29 tracks was Wallace’s at Talladega. NASCAR also said that of nearly 1,700 garages across those 29 tracks, just 11 had knots in their door ropes.
NASCAR also released a photo of the noose on Thursday, confirming that it was, in fact, a noose. Wallace has continued to speak out and said Tuesday night he was “pissed” at the attacks on his character and said Wednesday that he was relieved that he was not the target of the noose.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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