NASCAR's Bubba Wallace signs Beats by Dre endorsement deal amid Trump spat

Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 McDonald's Chevrolet, wears a "I Can't Breathe - Black Lives Matter" T-shirt under his fire suit in solidarity with protesters around the world during the national anthem prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace has signed an endorsement deal with Apple subsidiary Beats By Dre, the headphone maker announced Monday.

Beats by Dre said it moved up the timeline on its announcement after Wallace traded barbs with President Trump on Monday. The president called on Wallace to apologize after an FBI investigation determined a noose found last month in the NASCAR driver’s garage at Talladega Superspeedway wasn’t a hate crime.

“We weren’t going to announce this until later this week, but hate cannot win the day. No one should ever be asked to apologize for standing up for what’s right — we are proud to welcome @bubbawallace to the Beats by Dr. Dre family,” the company wrote on Twitter.

Further details on the partnership were not available. Beats by Dre representatives did not immediately return a request for comment on the partnership.

Beats by Dre’s athlete endorsers include Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, Odell Beckham Jr. and Serena Williams.

Related: NASCAR releases image of noose found in driver Bubba Wallace’s garage after FBI found no criminality

NASCAR launched an investigation last month after a member of Wallace’s team found a rope fashioned into a noose in his garage. FBI investigators determined the rope was a garage door pull that had been in place since October 2019.

At the time, Wallace, the NASCAR Cup Series' only Black driver, said he was “relieved” by the FBI’s findings and thanked officials for treating the incident “as a real threat.” NASCAR President Steve Phelps defended the premier stock car circuit’s handling of the investigation, arguing that it had acted properly based on the evidence at hand.

The Beats by Dre deal was announced hours after Trump ripped NASCAR for its handling of the situation and asked on Twitter why Wallace hadn’t apologized for what the president called a “hoax.” The president was also critical of NASCAR’s decision last month to ban the Confederate flag at its events.

Related: Trump suggests NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace should apologize for noose 'hoax'

“Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX? That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!” Trump said.

NASCAR did not address Trump’s comments directly but praised Wallace in a statement Monday afternoon.

NASCAR said it was "proud to have Bubba Wallace in the NASCAR family and we commend his courage and leadership.”

“NASCAR continues to stand tall with Bubba, our competitors and everyone who makes our sport welcoming and inclusive for all racing fans,” the organization said.

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