NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace said he is "being tested each and every day" after dealing with back-to-back controversies that saw racially-charged backlash over his vocal support of themovement.
"That's how life is. People want to dethrone you from the pedestal that you're on when you have a platform and when you have a voice," he told "CBS This Morning" Wednesday. "But I still know the path that I am destined to be on, and I'm walking that proudly with my head held high."
Days after histo get the Confederate flag banned from NASCAR events, the sport's only full-time black driver at the top level was told by NASCAR leadership that a noose had been found in his racing garage. The subsequent FBI investigation found that the rope had been there before Wallace was assigned the garage, and that no federal hate crime was committed.
"But they said absolutely. Not a functioning noose, but it is a noose. And they were curious on why that was even hanging, as well," he said.
Wallace expressed "relief" that he was not targeted, though he doubted the conclusion that the rope was part of a "garage pull."
The athlete also vehemently denied the notion that the noose was staged.
"They want to turn it into a hoax when I was just — rational thoughts off the factual information that I was given," he said.
After NASCAR's Confederate flag ban, some fans expressed outrage. One driver even said he would end his professional career after the 2020 season.
"Some have taken it like we're getting rid of that out of their personal lives. So, I don't understand that logic on thinking, but you can't help some people in today's world," Wallace said.
Wallace credited his "strong" of his mother, sister, father and girlfriend for helping him get through recent weeks, and said the display of support he received from his fellow drivers at Talladega was "emotional."
"Definitely a moment that will stand out for me for forever," he said. "Knowing that, you know, we have that family support — that's how NASCAR is. It was good to see, and I definitely appreciate that."
While he said he was looking forward to the coming weekend's races as a way to "get away from the issue," Wallace vowed his calls for reform would continue.
"We'll keep moving on and pushing the needle and fighting for what's right in this sport. And I'll continue to stand proudly where I am," he said.